Wednesday, September 24, 2008

MAKES NO SENSE I keep seeing news reports about what provisions of the Wall Street bailout Hank Paulson has or has not agreed. But to be blunt about it: Who cares?

Does anyone honestly believe that if Congress comes up with a bailout plan--any bailout plan at all--clocking in at several hundred billion dollars, President Bush is going to veto it?

What Paulson thinks is (thankfully) irrelevant. Congress should figure out if passing a plan would be a good idea; if so, what plan would be best; and then Congress should pass that plan.

Looking at it any other way makes no sense.

Monday, September 22, 2008

MUCH BETTER Via Krugman. Maybe this was the plan all along. But the early language from Sen. Dodd (D-CT) and others was ominous.

The question, now, is if Dodd and others will be willing to hold the line.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

SCHUMER Mukasey, the hedge fund loophole dodge and now wishy washy comments like this.

Doesn't Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) need to speak more clearly and forcefully against the Bush administration's bailout plan?

And if he won't, doesn't he need a primary challenge in 2010?

OBAMA: IT'S NO PLAN Recently posted on the campaign blog:
Thus far, the Administration has only offered a concept with a staggering price tag, not a plan.

Even if the Treasury recovers some or most of its investment over time, this initial outlay of up to $700 billion is sobering. And in return for their support, the American people must be assured that the deal reflects some basic principles.
He goes on to enumerate a whole bunch of sensible principles.

But will he have the courage to stick his neck out on this? Even as Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) seem to be bowing down before Hank Paulson as some sort of savior?

We can only hope.

THIS IS MADNESS Giving Hank Paulson $700 billion to do what he pleases with is insane. It's the same as the Iraq war--and roughly the same price--but instead of carnage and destruction, we're just skipping straight to the part where we give all the loot to the powerful and well-connected.

That's not to say federal intervention isn't needed. It sounds like it is. But putting the former head of Goldman Sachs in charge of the mother of all taxpayer sponsored slush funds--for him to dole out to his old Wall Street friends in whatever way he likes--is worse than crazy.

Calling it "crazy" doesn't even begin to capture how crazy it is.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

LISTEN TO DeLONG An economist from the Clinton administration speaks:
The decisions that will be made this weekend matter not just to the prospects of the U.S. economy in the year to come; they will shape the type of capitalism we will live in for the next fifty years.

Do we want to live in a system where profits are private, but losses are socialized? Where taxpayer money is used to prop up failed firms?

Or do we want to live in a system where people are held responsible for their decisions, where imprudent behavior is penalized and prudent behavior rewarded? For somebody like me who believes strongly in the free market system, the most serious risk of the current situation is that the interest of few financiers will undermine the fundamental workings of the capitalist system.

The time has come to save capitalism from the capitalists.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

NOT THE ONLY ONE Brad DeLong is confused:
John McCain wants to nominate his friend Joe Lieberman for vice president, is told that he cannot, and so he backs down and instead nominates somebody who takes their children to a church where they teach that suicide bombers in Tel Aviv are righteously executing God's vengeance on Israel for rejecting Jesus Christ.

Do I have it right?

I must say I am confused.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.