The problem is that both of you are right

David Brooks is right that the failure to pass the bailout represents a massive failure of American governance and leadership, most of all at the Congressional level.  That’s true even if you think, for other reasons, that the bailout was a bad idea.  (Can any hero be cited in this debacle?)  Andrew Sullivan (and others, including myself) was right that early versions of the Paulson plan bypassed checks and balances and gave far too much power to the Executive Branch.  So Congressional oversight was needed.

That’s the problem, namely that both of these views are right.  And this is just one reason, of many to come, why the Paulson plan (whether or not we need it) will not work as promised.


David Brooks seems more interested in retaining Republican political dominance in the short term than he is in standing up for core republican values. Fiscal conservatism is the one value I can get on board with on the republican agenda and thus I'm glad the House Republicans had the wherewithal to resist this cramdown. Even if it eventually puts me on the unemployment line (I am a Wall Streeter) and temporarily kills my 401k portfolio.

From Brooks:

"What we need in this situation is authority. Not heavy-handed government regulation, but the steady and powerful hand of some public institutions that can guard against the corrupting influences of sloppy money and then prevent destructive contagions when the credit dries up."

Message to Brooks: quit your whining. It's unbecoming. Almost as unbecoming as your flip-flopping. You can't just have government intervention on demand because your precious IRA took a hit. Man up, bro.

Ask me again when I'm in a breadline, but I'm more than willing to pay the price to make The Streeters (K and Wall) feel the heat.

I don't like your criteria for heroism. Sometimes it's heroic to resist populism, and sometimes it is heroic to resist special interests.

Congressional oversight isn't needed. Congressional oversight is a myth. Exactly what we don't need right now is a grease job pushing more make believe down the chute. I really really like the idea of a people's veto, and this is basically what has informally take place here.

There are no heroes here? Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich, to name two people I'd never previously thought of as the least bit heroic, come to mind. Can there be any heroes when it comes to basically academic discussions about economics? Um...probably not. Can there be heroes when it comes to standing up against a bill that was patently unconstitutional, a bill that should have frightened lovers of liberty everywhere? You bet your ass.

And no, I'm not a jerk--I understand most of what was said was rhetoric, electioneering, or confusion. But the House is DESIGNED to represent its constituents as closely as possible, and someone still needs to explain why the majority of citizens, apparently quite opposed to the Plan, count for approximately jack in the face of Paulson, the Washington Post, and a slew of academics like Joe Stiglitz, who apparently has resigned his day job to become a full-time talking head.

I've been sort of curious about Tyler's utter silence on the normative issues involved here. Whether we're headed towards recession or not, this was clearly the right thing to do IF you like liberty for anything more than its material benefits. Sorry, but I saw plenty of heroes yesterday, and I think the real worst-case scenario has, for the moment, been averted.

Agreed Meter.

The republican pundit class (David Brooks, Wall St. Journal) are really showing their stripes. And are proving that they are what liberals always said they were. Pro big business not pro market.

You cannot both have captialism when you are winning and socialism when you are losing. It is time to take your medicine.

I to am in the finance industry (not mortage related) and will take a hit on my 401k. But taking these losses is what is right and is what is in the long term best interest of the US.

I <3 gridlock.

1) When only 28% of Americans think the president is doing a good job --- the lowest rating since reliable public polls began --- and 18% say the same about Congress, we are in a renewed burst of populist upsurge . . . a common occurrence in American life whenever Americans in large number think their business, financial, and political elites are acting at the expense of the average American's interests.

2) Studies show that of the 38 Congressmen considered vulnerable in the forthcoming election, 30 voted against the Treasury-adjusted bill. By contrast, those Congressmen not considered vulnerable --- about 197 in each party --- split evenly.

3) Republican values, to use Meter's term?

When the chairman of the SEC --- Chris Cook, who was put there in 2005 because, astonishingly, his predecessor wanted to actually implement the agency's regulatory duties --- admits publicly that the SEC failed in his tenure and that financial markets aren't self-regulating and so starts doing what he's supposed to do very belatedly amid a major financial crisis --- what are these values worth now? (President Bush came to office with a well-known contempt for financial and business regulations. And Chris Cook was a man who shared that contempt.)

Of course there's only the strategy of Andrew Mellon, the most powerful US Secretary of Treasury in the 20th century --- in the Coolidge-Hoover era --- for handling the Great Depression between 1929 when GDP collapsed 30-35% and unemployment reached 25%:

] “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate.† Then, too, not to worry about a confidence panic. “It will purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. People will work harder, live a more moral life. Values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up the wrecks from less competent people."

4) And if you want to know what irks Main Street average Americans economically, you might ask --- amid the defense of these values --- how it is that the Census Bureau shows that average male income has risen exactly 2.0% in real terms since 1979. Yes, real terms means adjusted for purchasing power, and hence embraces all those cheaper products from China. (Households with a husband and wife working have risen in income, mainly because women's wages --- starting from a very low level compared to males' --- have gone up 50% in the interval, though they still lag by 33% on an average.

5) More to the point, when the heads of the top 24 hedge funds earned more last year as a financial crisis was building steam than the collective income of the Fortune 500 CEOs, would you not say that we are in a very strange economy?

6) As for the Paulson plan, even amended, it may not do the job, and we should be thinking about extending deposit insurance to all deposits in banks no matter how large for some temporary period. That should get money market funds out of near-bottom Treasuries back into the banking system, no? And it would help to plan a big spending bill for infrastructure, the money paid out to local businesses along the lines of the Eisenhower freeway project. (Has anyone noticed that with a Federal deficit this year of over $800 billion (!), we would be in a serious real decline in GDP and, most likely, a period of deflation.

But then, presumably, the smart economists are convinced that deficit spending never works. It always crowds out private market savings and leads to higher interest rates --- which, for some reason, we haven't been experiencing in this decade of matchless federal deficits.


Michael Gordon, AKA, the buggy professor

To the Muppet that uses the phrase: 'Man up, bro'. Is that what you say to your clients? No wonder Wall Street funded so much junk. You all think you're still at your frat party kegger. Grow up.

"5) More to the point, when the heads of the top 24 hedge funds earned more last year as a financial crisis was building steam than the collective income of the Fortune 500 CEOs, would you not say that we are in a very strange economy?"

yes, it is a strange economy. The 90% of the best hedge funds were all aware of massive new credit and monetary growth over the last decade and the knock on effects of a devalued dollar....they bet on commodities and made money, while the CEOs, government and MSM all continued the lies that are involved in our phony CPI and repeated the dogma that "fundamentals are strong". You can stop pretending that people don't know that true economic growth does not come from defiict spending and fiat monetary inflation! Read some Rothbard or continue being a joke.

The hedge funds are notdogmatic austrians, but they do study all the schools of thought and they DO KNOW a scam when they see it and they bet accordingly. See Jim Rogers!

ya, the same "bipartisian" criminals were lying to us about all that stuff as well.

Don't forget the recent cries of "certain death" for hundreds of thousands of people in the Gulf....


Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!

Wolf! No, really!

93% of homeowners are making their mortage payments as promised. Raising our taxes to pay interest on a bailout of Bill Gross/Warren Buffet won't help us continue making our payments.

Needlessly inflating house prices by encouraging more poor people to take out crazy loans to bid up the housing market even higher doesn't help other poor people afford a house, it merely makes them bigger slaves to the big banks.

35% of america owns no house...they need/want lower house prices ....they don't want/need bigger/more loans.

10% of americans truly do value the idea of their kids growing up in a free-market society, we believe our childrens future will be better if we do not hinder them with trillions in debt.

35% of america is socialist. Given their beliefs which I disagree with, they think that we should redistribute wealth to the less fortunate. They DO NOT think that paying big banks ridiculously high prices for MBS to the poor. I cannot argue with this belief, because they are right.

50% of america has close to zero money in the stock market....a 700 point drop matters zero to them.

many of these groups are overlappign adn a good portion are not. When you put them together you get about 90% of the people saying "no" and that is what we have right now.

The 10% voting yes are the same 105 who insisted we needed to have hundreds of military bases around the world to "promote democracy"...those lying bastards don't actually want democracy as demonstrated by their disdain of 90% of the public.

The 10% want a compliant slave class who payes ever more taxes and interest. The 1%(and their 9% brainwashed/cronies/jackbooted thugs and intellectual puppets) want the 90% to continue living in a fake democracy and to never questiont he false left-right paradigm which enslaves them.

"When the chairman of the SEC --- Chris Cook . . ."

My error. Chris Cook, a former Ph.D. student of mine, is a prof at Penn State, and we were exchanging lots of views this week. The SEC Chairman is Chris COX, a former Republican Congressman appointed to that position by President Bush in June 2005. His predecessor, William Donaldson, was forced to retire because --- heavens! --- he tried to do what the SEC is supposed to do and didn't (as Cox confessed last week): he sided with two Democratic Commissioners in trying, against Republican Commissioners' opposition, to regulate hedge funds, mutual funds, and the general structure of financial markets.

Off with his head! the Republicans in Congress urged, and so Donaldson --- maybe the best chairman the SEC ever had (he was a Republican appointed by Bush in 2003) --- retired before the Republicans, defending basic Republican values, could get the guy driven to the guillotine and beheaded on the floor of Congress itself.

The result? Si monumentum requis, circumspice.

--- Michael Gordon, AKA, the buggy prof

It seems that, with regard to the current credit crisis, the attitude is "something needs to be done. This is something. Therefore we must do it!" Why is the justification so light? Various politicians have stated that their goals are to protect taxpayers, provide accountability, and prevent windfall profits by the executives involved in creating this crisis, but the most under emphasized goal of all is "will this plan be increase liquidity better than alternatives while doing at least as good of a job at reducing moral hazard?" It seems to me that bankers are just hoping that the treasury will step in as the greater fool and overpay for toxic securities. If there's no greater fool on the horizon, then banks would make the adjustments they need and write down the value of their portfolios as a market emerges for the distressed debt.

Anyhow, I have yet to see anyone even suggest a house resolution *against* a bailout plan, which would force bankers to get on with it.

wow, normally fairly sane commenters here, many of you seem unhinged on this issue. why isn't this like the oil companies? that is, you may hate them, but if all the oil dries up, nothing works, we all get crushed (you can't drive to work, food can't be delivered, on and on and on). how are the financial companies any different? how many of you all simply will not get paid, and will have no access to money, if the financial system crashes? do you really want to risk that? pascal, meet wager.

I find it humorous you chose oil for your analogy. Much like those who have been freaking out over "peak oil" for the last century, only to be proved wrong time and time again, this crisis that will "destroy our ecomony" is probably quite similiar. And continued government interference will only make it worse over a longer period.

Also, any empathy I might have ever felt with the neo-cons is now officially dead.

you miss my point on oil -- i wasn't referring to peak oil, merely pointing out that if every oil company went bust for some reason and oil stopped flowing, all gooses would be cooked (except for hardcore survivalists already living in cabins in the hills). same with finance.

I nominate George W. Bush, for using his position as unpopular President to promote a terrible idea that will not come to fruition now because he proposed it.

Hero? Cassandra? Jeremiah? Ron Paul.

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