I suspect (hope!) we’re headed towards a tar and feathering of two jokers who have attempted to pull one over on us: Paulson and Bernanke. Both are urging swift action with no time to think. Bernanke is quoted in a New York Times article as saying “There are no atheists in foxholes and no ideologues in financial crises.” In fact, there are many atheists in foxholes, brave soldiers who risk their lives despite not believing in an afterlife. And ideas are precisely what’s needed now, not a rush for a fresh grab of power by the government.
Paulson is quoted as saying, “There was only one way that we could reassure the markets and deal with a very significant and broad-based freezing of the credit market. There was no political calculus. It was overwhelmingly obvious.” To call the solution obvious is to insult your intelligence and bully you into not responding. It’s a great tactic if you’re selling used cars.
George Will has a brilliant piece today, in which he states “The essence of this crisis is lack of knowledge, including the inability to know who owes what to whom, and where risk resides. In such a moment, government’s speed should not vary inversely with its information.” He goes on to argue that handing over such a gigantic sum to Paulson for spending as he wishes, answering to no one, essentially creates a fourth branch of government.
This is exactly what what I was warning of in my last post, Don’t let this “crisis” be another excuse to give away your rights.
Congress has been handing over responsibility to special appointees of the executive branch for many years, which is arguably unconstitutional. Congress passed the laws that created this crisi. Congress approves the appointments of Bernanke and Paulson. Congress has failed and should be replaced unless they somehow get the guts to stop this insanity right now.
Bush has failed, too. His team has been meddling with the market and created this immediate crisis. Recall that they argued that they needed to bail out Bear Sterns in March 2008 in order to avoid what we’re going through now. Given that it hasn’t worked, why are we even considering more of the same?
I sincerely hope that our elected officials do not hand over the power and responsibility we’ve given them to these unelected, anti-thinking hucksters. I hope they wake up and realize most of us do not want a bailout for failures. What we need now is careful, thoughtful deliberation in public. If congress chooses to fail, there should be no bailout for them either. We should sweep them all out of office.
Update: Is this crisis even a crisis at all? It’s possible that banks are simply measuring their worth according to misguided regulation. Read Maybe the Banks Are Just Counting Wrong from Saturday’s WSJ. That makes me hope there’s deadlock on this bailout plan for long enough for everyone to figure out we don’t need it.