Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bailout Plan and Partisan Politics

From economist Thomas Sowell:

Bailout Politics
Nothing could more painfully demonstrate what is wrong with Congress than the current financial crisis.

Among the Congressional "leaders" invited to the White House to devise a bailout "solution" are the very people who have for years created the risks that have now come home to roost.


The roots of this problem go back many years, but since the crisis to which all this led happened on George W. Bush's watch, that is enough for those who think in terms of talking points, without wanting to be confused by the facts.

In reality, President Bush tried unsuccessfully, years ago, to get Congress to create some regulatory agency to oversee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. [...]

Indeed. Many Republican's did. The proceedings were videotaped, it's a fact of public record, no matter how much Nancy Pelosi and others insist on lying about it.

Sowell connects the dots, but also knows that some sort of plan will have to be implemented to prevent worse consequences. But it's clear that many DID see this crisis coming:

[...] Alan Greenspan, then head of the Federal Reserve System, made the same point in testifying before Congress in February 2004. He said: "The Federal Reserve is concerned" that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were using this implicit reliance on a government bailout in a crisis to take more risks, in order to "multiply the profitability of subsidized debt."

Chairman Greenspan added his voice to those urging Congress to create a "regulator with authority on a par with that of banking regulators" to reduce the riskiness of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a riskiness ultimately borne by the taxpayers.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not deserve to be bailed out, but neither do workers, families and businesses deserve to be put through the economic wringer by a collapse of credit markets, such as occurred during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Neither do the voters deserve to be deceived on the eve of an election by the notion that this is a failure of free markets that should be replaced by political micro-managing.

If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were free market institutions they could not have gotten away with their risky financial practices because no one would have bought their securities without the implicit assumption that the politicians would bail them out.

It would be better if no such government-supported enterprises had been created in the first place and mortgages were in fact left to the free market. This bailout creates the expectation of future bailouts.

Phasing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would make much more sense than letting politicians play politics with them again, with the risk and expense being again loaded onto the taxpayers.

(bold emphasis mine) As usual Sowell gets to the point without wasting words, I recommend reading the whole thing.

This crisis was created and perpetuated by Democrats. While some sort of plan or loan to prevent the worsening of the crisis may be necessary, it's vital that we see and understand WHY it happened, who was responsible for allowing it, and prevent it from happening again.

Related Links:

"Bankruptcy, not bailout, is the right answer"

'Congress Lives Up To Its 10% Approval Rating'

Our Democrat-Created Crisis: They blocked a Reform bill co-sponsored by John McCain

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