- Yesterday, hardly a single politician looked good. Pelosi proved how shallow a Speaker of the House can be. Barney Frank proved how shamelessly he can lie. Democrats in general proved that they can't be trusted to govern, no matter what they say about Republicans. McCain and Obama proved that they are completely impotent as leaders of their parties. Bush proved he's the lamest of ducks. Every member of the House who voted against the so-called bailout proved that she or he would rather risk a deflationary depression than take a stand that's unpopular in the short term. The single politician who hardly looked good was John Boehner, House Minority Leader, who at least made a good speech in favor of the doomed bill, even if he can't deliver his party's votes.
- American voters, every bit as eager as SWNID to blame the politicians, have exactly the government they deserve. Has a nation ever been more willing to scapegoat someone--anyone--as the greedy blankety-blank responsible for this mess while failing to acknowledge that everyone is a greedy blankety-blank who has benefited directly or indirectly from the agglomeration of policies that pumped air into the housing and finance bubbles that have burst?
- Political ideology has seldom been as perniciously used as in the present "debate." The hard right is insisting that free markets be genuinely free, as if panics never happen when they are. The left is insisting that markets must be stringently regulated to avoid disasters, as if there's ever been a market regulated that actually avoided disaster. Neither side has much empirical data to support their doctrinnaire conclusions.
- The Treasury and the Fed are not without tools to alleviate the present distress. Reports that cross the SWNIDish desk indicate that they're working hard to get cash in banks where it can be lent to businesses who need it to do business. For now, they aren't empowered to do cancer surgery on the finance system, but the patient has already authorized aggressive treatment with drugs and radiation. The finance system's implosion may still be limited, and the consequent recession may still be contained.
- Barring some unforeseen development (scandalous revelations, new international crisis, effective political Hail Mary), Obama will be the next president. Pray that he empowers Democrats like Robert Rubin, not Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi. If he chooses the latter, look for terms like "tax shelter," "stagflation," and "job action" to re-enter the popular vocabulary.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Teetering at the Precipice
We offer telegraphic opinions, sans hyperlinks, on the present distress: