Friday, September 26, 2008

Hiding Under the Bed

As I've said in posts of Christmas past, I know precisely dick about economics, financial markets, etc. I do, however, know that what's been going on these past few weeks on Wall Street and in Washington scares the ever lov'n sh#@ out of me.

$700,000,000,000 of tax payer money on a Wall St. bail out?


And all that money is gonna do what exactly?

Seems to me if you're gonna be in the business of saying we should have free markets, as these hosers on Wall St. have been for years, then those markets should be free to fail, especially when those failures are the results of mass greed, short sightedness at the expense of the long term, and outright incompetence. These guys aren't victims. They gorged themselves on a trough full of filling, but empty calories and then want the rest of us to pay the hospital bill because they're sick.

Would letting these institutions fail hurt all of us? I have no doubt. But I don't see how we're not all going to be hurt, for a long, long time, no matter what the government does or doesn't do. The question I'm asking is, long term, what's going to cause the least amount of pain? What's gonna be best for the next generation and the one after that? Somehow I don't think tacking on another trillion dollars to a ridiculous national debt, quite probably giving the value of the dollar a Judo chop to the neck in the process, is in the best interests of my children or anyone else's. (This $700B has got to come from somewhere.)

I've been doing *a lot* of reading this week, trying to understand what the stakes are. The consequences of a bailout. The consequences of doing nothing. It's enough to make me want to pack up and move to Canada, to tell you the truth. (If we have any Canadian readers, do any of you need an editor?) I'll tell you this, it's a strange week when I find myself siding with House Republicans in saying that throwing $700B tax payer dollars at Wall Street is a load of hooey. That shouldn't, however, be confused with me saying I think they've got any good solutions either. I don't trust House Republicans any more than I'd trust a pyromaniac with a Zippo. I just know they're the only ones saying the Administration's plan is dubious at best. Meanwhile the dems seem to be lining up to say, "You can have the money, Mr. President, because we're afraid to fight you on any issue in which we could be accused of not acting during a crisis. But we're not going to stand in line with you until we get to dangle our own ornaments on this Christmas tree so that it looks like we're paying attention to the little folk." As if adding restrictions on executive compensation and throwing in a Milk Bone for people facing foreclosure somehow makes the bailout itself more palatable. (And for the record, some -not all, but some- of these people facing foreclosure deserve to. You don't take money from someone that you have no hope whatsoever of paying back.)

Right now the dems look they're doing what they always do when this administration trots out something completely beyond the pale: Accepting the premise. After eight years of watching the catastrophic misadventures of this administration it seems to me the last thing you should do is accept anything they say at face value.

Like I said. I don't know sh#@. I just know it's scary as all hell. But, if you're interested in digging into this a bit more, here's some of what I've been reading. What do you think?

EDIT: Another good one: The Great Bailout Brouhaha

If you want to read a worst case scenario, check out the Seeking Alpha piece. Also, while I know that some people hate Daily Kos with a white hot passion, the Bill O'Reilly hysterics that they're some kind of hate site is just ludicrous. Like any political advocacy site there's a fair amount of junk there, but there's a lot of good stuff too if you separate the real content from the noise machine. As for the Gamers With Jobs link. It's just a forum thread (a long one), but there's some fascinating opinions in there from a handful of guys who sound like they know more of what they're talking about than the average bear.