Thursday, December 27, 2012

Irredeemable Corruption of Economics

You can make really big bucks whoring for corporate crooks. Brad DeLong excerpts Matt Taibbi's piece on the "work" of W's former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and and Columbia Dean Glenn Hubbard in defense of bankrupt junk mortgage factory Countrywide.

A sample: source

Matt Taibbi observes:

Glenn Hubbard, Leading Academic and Mitt Romney Advisor, Took 1200 an Hour to Be Countrywide's Expert Witness: What's fascinating in the deposition is the way Hubbard repeatedly tries to avoid answering the question about what kind of research he did, or didn't do…. His sneering annoyance shines through as brightly as it did in Inside Job, but this time he couldn't just say, "You've got three more minutes." Here, for instance, he actually tries to play dumb when asked if he looked into Countrywide's origination practices:

Q. Did you make any inquiry into how Countrywide actually originated its loans?

A. I'm not sure exactly what you mean by that.

Hubbard here is just being intentionally obtuse: he's trying to see how much of an appetite MBIA's lawyers have for fighting through his dickishness. They press on:

Q. You understand there was a process by which Countrywide originated the loans that it included in the securitizations?

A. Yes.

Q. And there was also a process by which Countrywide examined the loans that it purchased from other originators inclusion in securitizations?

A. Correct.

Q. Did you make any factual inquiry into the nature of either the process of origination or the process of due diligence by Countrywide?

A. I'm not an underwriter in this proceeding, so neither of the assignments that I told you would require such.

He knows it's a yes or no question, but he's letting them know they're going to have to beat it out of him:

Economics can't be a real science as long as guys like Hubbard are deans of prestigious colleges.