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The Never-Ending Bailout and the End of American Economic Dominance
Creators Syndicate ^ | 11-19-08 | Ben Shapiro

Posted on 11/19/2008 9:20:23 AM PST by UltraConservative

Our political leadership -- folks like President George W. Bush, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and President-elect Barack Obama -- told us that the government would save us. They said that the economic crisis was so dire, so grim, that we needed to allow the government to spend our money to bail out Wall Street. They stated that Paulson, with full authority and no oversight, would be able to right the ship.

We were ignorant enough to believe them.

Now they tell us that Paulson has exercised his authority recklessly. They say that they want their oversight back. They state that they need more cash for bailouts, and they need more leeway to create new regulatory schemes.

Will we be stupid enough to believe them again?

So far, the federal bailout, which was designed to jumpstart lending, has cost $300 billion and produced no effect. This is not a surprise. Lenders are rational actors. They tightened lending standards because they were hit hard by the subprime crisis -- a crisis caused by lax lending standards. But instead of seeing stricter lending standards and occasional bankruptcies as the natural outgrowth of bad decisions, the government panicked. The credit had to flow, our politicians told us. And the best way to make the credit flow was to hand over more cash to lenders.

This, of course, was sheer idiocy. Handing lenders money wasn't going to get them to loosen lending standards again. That money was earmarked for lenders' savings from the moment they received it -- lenders' first priority is to their stockholders, who want to see profit margin, not more bad loans.

But the government wants bad loans to continue. And so the government has decided that if lenders won't provide them, the government will. The first step is rescuing the Big Three in Detroit. We're told that General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler are the key to American industry -- a statement laughable in its exaggeration. We're told that if automakers go under, unemployment will skyrocket. We're told that these companies are too big to fail.

Here's something thats too big to fail: America's entrepreneurial spirit. But no one seems to care about that. Instead, we're supposed to worry about the risky lenders who bet wrong on the market; the risky borrowers who took mortgages they could never pay; and the risky investors who counted on both risky lenders and risky borrowers to keep the waterwheel of cash turning. In doing so, we ignore those who could actually heal the economy: solid lenders, solid borrowers and smart investors who will pick up the pieces of broken businesses and lead the way. But they don't matter. Instead, say the politicians, we should focus on GM. We should focus on Lehman Brothers. We should focus on the failures. And we should bail them out.

If we do, we will pay the price of a prolonged recession.

These bailouts have monetary costs that will cripple American business. Someone will have to pay for these bailouts. Either we will have to pay for them with higher taxes, or we will have to pay for them through inflation. The government is investing our money in bad stock. Would you buy GM stock right now? The government will, with your hard-earned dollar.

These bailouts also have psychological costs that breed dependency. Paulson is fond of saying that he wants to be wary of "moral hazard" -- the idea that we must not give incentives for bad behavior -- but then he pushes rewarding reckless companies with taxpayer handouts. Meanwhile, both Democrats and Republicans recommend rewarding risky borrowers by keeping them in the houses they can't pay for. How long will it be before folks stop paying their credit card bills and mortgages altogether, hoping that the government will step in to save them?

What we are watching is Carter-esque interference with the economy. President Bush's handling of this economic debacle will go down as the biggest black mark on his legacy. While supposedly touting the importance of capitalism, Bush has embraced the same Keynesian solutions that trashed the economy during the 1930s and 1970s. And both Republicans and Democrats go right along with him, psychotically citing the Great Depression while ignoring the basic fact that Presidents Herbert Hoover's and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's tinkering made a depression into the Great Depression.

The bailout is a disaster. And the politicians will continue fostering this disaster until the American people say, "Enough. We dont need your help. We will do this ourselves."

TOPICS: Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: bailout; bush; paulson; shapiro
Great stuff.
1 posted on 11/19/2008 9:20:23 AM PST by UltraConservative
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To: UltraConservative

YES! Look at the power GWB gave to democrats. Economic Freedom republicans are demoralized, completely unrepresentative. His father never dug us a hole this deep, we had a chance 16 years ago.

2 posted on 11/19/2008 9:23:16 AM PST by sickoflibs (Tired of loss and humiliation?, Then what do we stand for?)
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To: UltraConservative

I pray GWB doesnt hand democrats anymore power and moral authority before he leaves office.

Pray for President Bush and America - Day 2989
| November 19, 2008 | Faith

3 posted on 11/19/2008 9:26:30 AM PST by sickoflibs (Tired of loss and humiliation?, Then what do we stand for?)
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To: UltraConservative
We were ignorant enough to believe them

Speak for yourself, Ben. Anyone with a functioning brain cell and any concept of capitalism and what America is supposed to be was against that boondoggle from the moment they heard about it.

4 posted on 11/19/2008 9:27:25 AM PST by Sicon ("All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." - G. Orwell)
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To: UltraConservative
Anyone who pays attention to the Great Depression understands that the reason it was so long and so deep was because of government intervention. Both Hoover and FDR tried too hard to help fix it and they turned a bad recession into a total calamity.

We're doing it again.

Many people have told me that "I just don't get it" and "If we don't do something, it could get really, really bad". I'm just not buying it. I'm a Conservative. I have faith in markets. Having some central authority step in and nationalize failing businesses (banking, autos, etc.) just is NOT going to seem like a smart idea to me.

The government needs to cut regulation and cut taxes and then just sit there.

5 posted on 11/19/2008 9:27:39 AM PST by ClearCase_guy
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To: UltraConservative
Those in the House that opposed this fiasco look pretty smart right about now. I don;t think you'll see that touted in the lapdog media anytime soon, though.
6 posted on 11/19/2008 9:28:40 AM PST by Major Matt Mason (Enjoying the final death throes of the dinosaur media.)
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To: UltraConservative

I agree with the premise of the article which, as I interpret it, is that “bailouts” and “handouts” constitute nothing more than moving dollars around within an economy - and in many cases doing so with horrible inefficiency. It does nothing to create wealth which is the panacea to recession. Wealth is created by increased productivity - not movement of money. Movement of money is the byproduct of increased productivity. Pushing already existing money through nonproductive channels only exacerbates the problem.
I personally advocate a wage system based on productivity - even if it can only be estimated as is done in job performance reviews - with a base minimum stipend salary. Combined with the engine of capital, this makes economies grow faster than anything else.

7 posted on 11/19/2008 9:30:33 AM PST by ableRivet
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To: ClearCase_guy

Agreed. We’re still operating on the “too big to fail” premise, and this was one of the problems of 1900 to 1930. The Titanic wasn’t too big too sink and WWI wasn’t so big it made wars unthinkable. AIG isn’t too big to fail; GM isn’t too big to fail, and the US Government isn’t too big too collapse.

8 posted on 11/19/2008 9:31:56 AM PST by Richard Kimball (We're all criminals. They just haven't figured out what some of us have done yet.)
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To: UltraConservative; bamahead

possible ping

9 posted on 11/19/2008 9:35:15 AM PST by traviskicks (
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To: UltraConservative

“Great stuff.”

No question. Sadly, Paulson is going to look like a genius compared to the folks about to take charge next January. Historians hopefully will someday explain the pandemic of wishful thinking that has infected the public and policymakers during this strange political season. Obama has ginned up hopes far beyond the capacity of even a competent president to deliver, much less one so lacking in experience or bold decision-making.

And the very same capacity of Obama’s voters to ignore common sense and the lessons of history in favor of grandiose promises and empty platitudes underlies the willingness of others to believe that a “saviour” like Henry Paulson can spare us from the harsh economic medicine that Ronald Reagan and Paul Volcker dispensed (with great success!!!! How quickly we forget!) a quarter century ago.

10 posted on 11/19/2008 9:35:33 AM PST by DrC
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To: UltraConservative
We were ignorant enough to believe them.

Who's 'we' kimosabe?


11 posted on 11/19/2008 9:36:51 AM PST by Lurker ("America is at that awkward stage. " Claire Wolfe, call your office.)
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To: UltraConservative

Would have gotten more of a benefit just handing the bailout over to the pirates from Somalia than these guys and gals. I don’t get what the problem is with going bankrupt. Sure no one and no company should want to go bankrupt and it is a long drawn out paper intensive thing and you betcha some creditors will get screwed but it truly seems the only way that doesn’t break the country and there would be accountability and transcparency in a bankruptcy court and some of the crappy CEO’s will have to go. Maybe that’s why they are afraid of —accountability. I can’t believe Barney was saying crap about bankruptcy with His Excellency was hollering about changing the bankruptcy laws (something his VP helped changed)to protect more consumers and fools who didn’t read the mortgage agreement they signed or couldn’t read since they were illegal aliens. Bankruptcy is in our constitution unlike other countries and it is there to help the debtor and keep the business going so the world continues to go. If they can’t make it happen in bankruptcy court, then they don’t need to exist. Sure no one likes it but bankruptcy would solve the issue of the automakers easier, more efficiently and would free up those bailout funds for more useful purposes like Somalian pirates (just a joke—wasn’t supportive of the bailout myself). If they won’t go bankrupt, their creditors should make do the involuntary bankruptcy on them.

12 posted on 11/19/2008 9:39:22 AM PST by volslover
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To: ableRivet

Pushing around NON-EXISTENT money exacerbates the problem to the max.

13 posted on 11/19/2008 9:40:06 AM PST by informavoracious (It's after midnight, I'm FReepwalking...)
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To: informavoracious

Yep - which is what happens when the Fed adjusts rates. It just either slows money printing or speeds it up beyond the amount justified by the overall worth of the economy. Pushing non-existent money just drives inflation.

14 posted on 11/19/2008 9:42:57 AM PST by ableRivet
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To: informavoracious

OTOH - increased productivity increases wealth which in turn increases the REAL dollars in circulation. Another way of saying it is that you are robbing from Peter to pay Paul; and in the process no new wealth is created. So the economy overall is unchanged.

15 posted on 11/19/2008 9:46:49 AM PST by ableRivet
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To: sickoflibs

Hear hear!

16 posted on 11/19/2008 9:48:26 AM PST by villagerjoel (1984 was not supposed to be an instruction manual!)
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To: informavoracious

Two primary ingredients to increased productivity:
1.) increased human motivation (working harder, better and longer)
2.) technological innovation in capital (increased automation)
You can’t legislate either

17 posted on 11/19/2008 9:52:42 AM PST by ableRivet
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To: villagerjoel

I get a surpising number of angry responses for comments like that. A small number of loyalists really insulate themselves with defensive rationales like,”the democrats forced him to do it”

18 posted on 11/19/2008 9:55:53 AM PST by sickoflibs (Tired of loss and humiliation?, Then what do we stand for?)
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To: UltraConservative
Now they tell us that Paulson has exercised his authority recklessly. They say that they want their oversight back. They state that they need more cash for bailouts, and they need more leeway to create new regulatory schemes.

Will we be stupid enough to believe them again?

We, The People did not fall for this bait & switch fraud. It was the idiot Congressmen. The People told them in no uncertain terms to kill the bailout. But Congress just couldn't resist meddling (and lining their pockets).

And yes, Congress will fall for it again...just like they did to cause the Great Depression.

Thanks Congress and President Bush...for putting us on the Highway to Hell!

19 posted on 11/19/2008 9:56:13 AM PST by DakotaGator (God Save the Republic! And keep your powder dry!!)
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To: ableRivet

well said.

20 posted on 11/19/2008 9:56:26 AM PST by Ciexyz
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To: UltraConservative
Many of us have wondered about the absense of America in the” end time” scenario as related in Revelations.

We know something must hapened to America ...

Ecclesiastical Babylon is all apostate Christendom.
Read Revelation 18:4-19

“Revelation 18:4-19 (Young's Literal Translation)
Young's Literal Translation (YLT)
Public Domain

4And I heard another voice out of the heaven, saying, `Come forth out of her, My people, that ye may not partake with her sins, and that ye may not receive of her plagues,

5because her sins did follow — unto the heaven, and God did remember her unrighteousness.

6Render to her as also she did render to you, and double to her doubles according to her works; in the cup that she did mingle mingle to her double.

7`As much as she did glorify herself and did revel, so much torment and sorrow give to her, because in her heart she saith, I sit a queen, and a widow I am not, and sorrow I shall not see;

8because of this, in one day, shall come her plagues, death, and sorrow, and famine; and in fire she shall be utterly burned, because strong [is] the Lord God who is judging her;

9and weep over her, and smite themselves for her, shall the kings of the earth, who with her did commit whoredom and did revel, when they may see the smoke of her burning,

10from afar having stood because of the fear of her torment, saying, Wo, wo, the great city! Babylon, the strong city! because in one hour did come thy judgment.

11`And the merchants of the earth shall weep and sorrow over her, because their lading no one doth buy any more;

12lading of gold, and silver, and precious stone, and pearl, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyne wood, and every vessel of ivory, and every vessel of most precious wood, and brass, and iron, and marble,

13and cinnamon, and odours, and ointment, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and cattle, and sheep, and of horses, and of chariots, and of bodies and souls of men.

14`And the fruits of the desire of thy soul did go away from thee, and all things — the dainty and the bright — did go away from thee, and no more at all mayest thou find them.

15The merchants of these things, who were made rich by her, far off shall stand because of the fear of her torment, weeping, and sorrowing,

16and saying, Woe, woe, the great city, that was arrayed with fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and gilded in gold, and precious stone, and pearls — because in one hour so much riches were made waste!

17`And every shipmaster, and all the company upon the ships, and sailors, and as many as work the sea, far off stood,

18and were crying, seeing the smoke of her burning, saying, What [city is] like to the great city?

19and they did cast dust upon their heads, and were crying out, weeping and sorrowing, saying, Woe, woe, the great city! in which were made rich all having ships in the sea, out of her costliness — for in one hour was she made waste.”

Now (for one thing) most all our goods are brought by ships ... this is possible if not for sure. Consider well.

21 posted on 11/19/2008 10:08:43 AM PST by geologist (The only answer to the troubles of this life is Jesus. A decision we all must make.)
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To: UltraConservative
Now they tell us that Paulson has exercised his authority recklessly.

This was totally predictable. No one man in a Republic should have the kind of power they handed over to Paulson.
22 posted on 11/19/2008 10:36:10 AM PST by JamesP81 (A loyal son of the great commonwealth of Kentucky)
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To: Lurker

Who’s ‘we’ kimosabe?

Gotta be the idiotic congresspeople who voted against the bailout before they voted for it.


23 posted on 11/19/2008 10:49:30 AM PST by Canedawg (The media is a ass, a idiot.," said Mr. Bumble.)
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To: Grampa Dave; JamesP81; UltraConservative
NOW THEY TELL US----Secy Paulson has exercised his authority recklessly.

US Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) said Saturday that Congress was not told the truth about the $700 billion blank bailout check. "The American people don't know how much money Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has given away to anyone. IT COULD BE TO HIS FRIENDS. We don't know. There is no way of knowing.''

KEEP IN MIND Henry Paulson (former Goldman Sachs honcho) named his Goldman Sachs underling, Neel Kashkari, to oversee the $700B Wall Street bailout. G/S alumni are bailing out the very pople who contributed to the economy's meltdown.

WATTA SURPRISE---G/S SCREWED TAXPAYERS No wonder the economy is in turmoil. New reports say it appears Treasury Secy Paulson named his G/S buddies---to handout the bailout billions. Conflict of interest anybody?

GOLDMAN SACHS SCREWS US AGAIN Secy Pavelson told Congress bailout billions would be used for one purpose then the foxy, wily Pavelson changes horses in midstream and decides to use the billions for something else. Typical Wall Street chicanery.

The heck with Congress enacting the bailout law for one use. Pavelson personally decides he and the G/S guys will use it for "something else."

The late economist John Kenneth Galbraith blamed Goldman Sachs for policies causing the Great Depression of '29. In his book, The Great Crash, 1929, Galbraith, a key figure in JFK's admin, an entire chapter titled “In Goldman, Sachs, We Trust,” details the “large-scale corporate thimblerigging” that Goldman and other Wall Streeters practiced in the 1920s.

G/S alumni at the highest levels of govt are now pulling the levers of power. Watching them operate, we know Goldman types promote their own interests relentlessly...........the rest of us be damned. Heaven help us.

As US citizens line up at soup kitchens and sell apples on street corners, they demand Paulson, Kashkari, and the G/S frat boys come clean about their holdings (at least the ones not hidden in numbered offshore bank accounts, the ones not "parked" at Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street entities, or bailout assets not tied up in untraceable untaxable, casino chips).

24 posted on 11/19/2008 11:03:50 AM PST by Liz (The right to be left alone is the beginning of freedom. USSC Justice William O. Douglas)
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To: JamesP81
This was totally predictable. No one man in a Republic should have the kind of power they handed over to Paulson.

Just look at the socialist stuff we have coming out of the Bush administration and Congress now. It's only going to get worse when Obama gets in and has an even friendlier Congress.
25 posted on 11/19/2008 11:16:09 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: UltraConservative

Finance is the most powerful industry. Some may imagine that finance exists to provide housing and jobs, but it doesn’t. Finance exists to be finance, the most powerful and profitable industry ever.

26 posted on 11/19/2008 11:17:56 AM PST by RightWhale (Exxon Suxx)
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