Five Things About the Economy on Which We Should All Be Able to Agree

So, another day, another plunge in stock prices, another wave of aspiring moochers descending on Washington, and another God-knows-how-many billions set to be doled out under the Treasury’s “TARP” program.  (“TARP” is an acronym, of course, which stands for “Totally Arbitrary Rewards and Penalties.”  The goal of the program is to render unreliable the economic signals that have guided business activity for centuries, like interest rates, or profits or the lack thereof.  By replacing these traditional signals with totally arbitrary rewards and penalties, policy makers can simultaneously pretend to “rescue” one group after another while vastly expanding their power over the livelihoods of private citizens.)

Treasury Secretary Paulson, who in September told us that buying troubled assets from investment banks was the only way to avoid a total financial meltdown, now says that buying troubled assets was not the only way; in fact it wasn’t really a very good way after all so it’s time to try something different.  Read the rest of this entry »

Patriotic Songs for Our Newest National Protectors

It has been noted, on this blog and elsewhere, that the sense of national emergency over the last three weeks has been eerily reminiscent of various national security threats we’ve encountered in the last eight years.  The important difference, of course, is that the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force have been completely unable to help us out of this crisis.  Only Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke could do anything about it.  They were kind enough to ask Congress for permission, but as we’ve noted, they went ahead with a back-door bailout anyway, even before Congress consented.

Now that Congress has ratified it, however, the new reality is that our economic security — and therefore, it is widely believed, our national security — now depends on a new part of the executive branch.  It seems only fair that this newest guarantor of our lives and our fortunes (though not, I think, our sacred honor) should have some patriotic songs to celebrate its important new role.

As you may have guessed, I have some modest suggestions, Read the rest of this entry »