Monday, September 22, 2008

Cash of the Titans

Were a third-world nation facing a crisis similar to the one the US is facing now, grey international economic eminences would sternly lecture them on the importance of the free market, and point out that the economy must be allowed to make adjustments, painful as they are. Clearly, this is and example of do as I say, not as I do. It is odd how this our supposedly conservative government has presided over the biggest nationalization of industry ever seen in the United States.
The neo-liberal and conservative lexicon seems to break down when it comes to this crisis. This isn't free-market capitalism, hence it must be socialism, they reason. They don't seem to understand this giveaway is neither, it is plutocracy. a $700 giveaway to the financial sector, not exactly Marxian.
Hank Paulson has show exemplary competence as a Bush official, but the plan as it stands looks to be a mistake (I recommend taking a look at the response). Read Paul Krugman on the bailout.
But Mr. Paulson insists that he wants a “clean” plan. “Clean,” in this context, means a taxpayer-financed bailout with no strings attached — no quid pro quo on the part of those being bailed out. Why is that a good thing? Add to this the fact that Mr. Paulson is also demanding dictatorial authority, plus immunity from review “by any court of law or any administrative agency,” and this adds up to an unacceptable proposal.

Even if you trust Paulson to use that power wisely, keep in mind he won't be the Treasury Secretary forever. Do you trust Phil Gramm to be an equally wise steward of our economy?

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