THE BLOG
03/07/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

CNBC's Clueless Mark Haines Calls Me "Clueless" on Morning Joe : I Respond

I was on Morning Joe this morning, talking about the bailout.

Right after my segment, CNBCs Mark Haines came on and, armed with lots of hostility and no facts, started taking shots at me, calling me "clueless" and telling Joe and Mika: "In the future you might want to get someone who knows what they're talking about."

Haines, clearly still looking at the world through Wall Street-tinted glasses, was apoplectic over my suggestion that taxpayers should stop subsidizing equity holders in insolvent banks.

"She has no idea what she's saying... I mean, let's get it right," he sputtered.

Yes, Mark, by all means, let's get it right -- because this debate is going to be key in determining whether the second round of the bank bailout will be as disastrous and ineffective and poorly managed as the first.

Is the Obama administration going to give us the same kind of lousy return on our bailout investment as Henry Paulson did? Or are they going to start cutting smarter deals like Warren Buffett cut for himself?

Capping executive pay at companies that are being bailed out is a good step. But Obama and Geithner can't stop there.

As Niall Ferguson writes on HuffPost: "Existing shareholders will have to face that they have lost their money. Too bad; they should have kept a more vigilant eye on the people running their banks... Financial history is, after all, an evolutionary process. When old banks die, new banks swiftly take their place."

That's called capitalism, Mark. I missed the chapter in Adam Smith -- or Ayn Rand for that matter -- where it says that equity holders in insolvent banks need to be paid taxpayer-funded dividends. Did you say "clueless"?

Capitalism comes with great rewards -- and commensurate risks.

Allowing stockholders to reap the benefits during the good times... and to keep reaping them in the very bad times -- at taxpayers' expense -- isn't capitalism. It's lunacy. And only people like Mark Haines, their vision limited by Wall Street blinders, can utter the nonsense he uttered this morning.

My full segment on Morning Joe:

Mark Haines misses the mark: