My column in the FT this week is on Hank Paulson, the bail-out of Fannie and Freddie, and the dangers of endless intervention. It starts like this:
I do not know what plans Hank Paulson, the US Treasury secretary, has for the weekend. Bird-watching, perhaps. Whatever they are, may I suggest that he sticks to them?
Mr Paulson is a keen ornithologist but he is also an energetic intervener in financial markets and, when he has worked on weekends recently, the US taxpayer has paid dearly.
In March, it was a line of funding to steer Bear Stearns, the investment bank, into the hands of JPMorgan Chase. On Sunday, it was the bail-out of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the quasi-public mortgage lenders, which could cost the US government $200bn or more.
It is only Thursday and, already, others seem to be preparing to interrupt his days of rest again.
The first is Lehman Brothers, whose shares fell sharply after the failure of its talks with Korea Development Bank aimed at gaining a capital injection to offset its mortgage-related losses.
You can read the rest here and comment below.