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Bad News For The Thieves

The Financial Times has been far ahead of The Wall Street Journal in its acuity on the credit crisis and on the consequences that have ensued from it. At least as I recall, it was the first of the elite publications to grasp that the insurers of bonds, mortgages and other sorts of loans (MBIA and Ambac, for example) were insuring much more than they could handle. And also that the rating agencies (Moody's, S%P, Fitch) were reckless (and dishonest) in their giving out grades of AAA as if they were chewing gum. All of the elaborately disguised structures of these two industries have collapsed.

This morning's FT carries a column by Clive Crook, "Regulation needs more than tuning," that is significant in that the author is a true marketeer. If he has lost confidence in the market's ability to tame the banks and the investment houses, the insurance companies and the rating agencies, one of the most persuasive and respected members of the team has actually defected to the other side.

This is not good news for the thieves. But it is good news for everybody else.