So this fellow named Barry Ritholtz is so frustrated with my arguments about the significant effect of the Community Reinvestment Act, that he decided to answer with bluster and bucks rather than a reasoned reply. Fortunatley, this might be an opportunity to make some money.
Here’s the deal. Barry wants to wager between $10,000 to $100,000 on the outcome of a debate over the significance of the CRA. The outcome will be “determined by a fair jury.”
I don’t have anywhere near that kind of money. Which is a shame. Because if I did, I’d wager it in an instant on this debate. Over the weekend, I wrote a comprehensive take-down of all the arguments that allegedly exonerate the CRA. Most of them were actually the arguments Barry had raised, so I’m more than fully equipped with evidence and logic to refute his points. And I’m very good at debating questions in public forums. This is easy money.
So I have an idea: someone should sponsor me for the debate. We’ll come to some reasonable arrangement about how to divide the return on the investment. I’ll take something for my sweat equity (which will also provide the sponsor with assurance that I’m properly financially incentivized to win), while the sponsor will take most of the upside. If you agree with me that this is easy money, you’ll see that this is a good chance to make a 100% return.
As fair warining, let me say upfront that there are at least two problems with the way this wager is structured.
1. Most of the pundit wager things have objective outcomes rather than jury decisions. That is, if you bet on the price of commodities ten years out, you have a price mechanism as the judge. Here there is more room for subjectivity and rhetorical victories. Fortunately, I’m really good at rhetorical battles so I think this works in our favor.
2. The question wagered over is usually stated in concrete terms. After the election, I bet Dan Abrams $100 that George Bush would pardon Conrad Black. That was an either/or proposition. (Which I lost.) Barry’s wager is on a much fuzzier question about the significance of the CRA. Lots of room for a side-debate about what counts as significant there.
Despite these problems, I’m really eager to take on the wager. The only barrier is that there’s no way I could pay if I lost. I’m a poor journalist. If someone else wants to provide the financial backing, email me: email@example.com. Let’s make some money.
Also, you’d be doing a public service, helping take down this ridiculous campaign to completely exonerate the CRA. Until we can admit that do-gooder laws like the CRA contributed to this crisis, we’ll never improve our chances of avoiding the next one.