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Country Crooner Merle Hazard Sings the Recession Blues

Merle Hazard, who calls himself the “first and only country singer to write about mortgage-backed securities, derivatives, and physics,” provides the soundtrack to our segment Wednesday night about whether the Fed’s interest rate policies will drive us toward inflation or deflation.

Merle is the nom de country of Nashville investment adviser Jon Shayne and he’s become something of a YouTube phenom since the recession began, what with his satirical crooning about CDOs, mark-to-market rules, and margin calls. In his song H-E-D-G-E, for example, he takes on the persona of a hedge fund manager watching his fund go bust, to the tune of Tammy Wynette’s D-I-V-O-R-C-E:

I was leveraged 10-to-1
But it should have been 2 or 3.
Oh, how I wished I had a working
H-E-D-G-E.

We caught up with Merle at the annual economics meetings in Atlanta a few weeks ago, where he managed to get a roomful of economists singing along to the Beach Boys, as reinterpreted via Hayek. The moment is featured in an upcoming piece of ours on that apparent oxymoron, “economics humor.”

We can’t end this post, though, without alerting you to our favorite Merle ballad, embedded above: In the Hamptons. A warning before you watch: The song is introduced, for no obvious reason, by way of an encounter with conservative economist Arthur Laffer of “Laffer Curve” fame, who blames the financial crisis on government meddling. But you needn’t buy the ideology to enjoy the song.

The Complete Hazard can be accessed from Merle’s website. Enjoy.

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