Time for Some Accountability

 | Jan 11, 2013 | 7:04 AM EST
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Clearwire (CLWR) befuddled me. I didn't see it coming. I thought that it would go bankrupt. Instead there is a bidding war for the darned thing between two highly educated players: Dish Network (DISH), run by the super smart Charlie Ergen, and Sprint (S), captained by Dan Hesse, arguably the best guy these days in the world of telco.

The spectrum that Clearwire owned turned out to be more valuable than I thought.

I told people to be careful and then, ultimately, to sell when I heard the rumors of a Sprint bid.

That was wrong. Very wrong. So I owned it. Here and on the show.

Embarrassing. Certain to be used against me. 

But it got me thinking, what if others admitted that they got things wrong. What if, for example, the myriad bears on China, the hard-landing bears, were to come on and say "boy, I got surprised by the strength in that country" or "I didn't think they had it in them to fix it."

Wouldn't it be terrific? Instead they lie low. Or they aren't asked. They kept people out of a heckuva bull market, which I am sure they wouldn't acknowledge. Instead, perhaps they would say "the numbers are all phony." To which I say, they might be phony, but the money you could have made by betting that there could be a turn in the stock market is real money.

How about the European bond situation? How many times did we hear that once Ireland and Portugal go, Spain and Italy will go? Yesterday, Spanish ten-year paper traded under 5%.

Again, the bears would probably say "it is all phony." I come back and say I wish I had that phony gain in Spanish bonds. So does Corzine, for that matter.

This stuff steams me because, as someone who runs a public portfolio and who is on television, I think it is incumbent to wear the Post-it, so to speak, from the days when Karen Cramer made me put a Post-it on my head with the symbol of my screw up and sit there on the trading desk.

But they don't. It is time for some accountability. There were dozens and dozens of people who got this stuff wrong.

Where are they?

I know, by the way, one place they weren't wrong. Tim Geithner. He was mocked when he told me at the Delivering Alpha conference last year that the Europeans would get their house in order and there would be no sovereign Lehman.

Where are the other potential Post-it wearers?

If you see one, let me know. I would love to watch or listen or read it. Only because there has to be some crow eaten here, some humility.

How else can you believe the person ever again?


Just shameful.

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