TMQ on the Washington-Wall Street attempted shakedown of America:
[O]n Sept. 12, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the financial system had been fixed and “under no circumstances” would there be further bailouts; on Friday, Paulson said the system was collapsing and another $700 billion was needed. Suddenly Paulson is insisting the country has no choice other than immediately to hand over $700 billion to Wall Street fat cats, with barely any debate or even explanation of the plan. Why should anyone believe this guy, when just one week previously he said no further bailouts would occur? It seems clear Paulson had no idea what he was talking about then, while if the problem is really as bad as Paulson says now, his past delay in facing the problem has made the cost far higher. With such a poor track record, why is the treasury secretary suddenly viewed as a superbrilliant genius whose marching orders must be followed?
The only responsible answer, the only intelligent answer, to King Paulson’s demands for $700 billion for his corrupt buddies, is UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES will any money be given to Wall Street. The proposed plan simply will not prevent any of the problems that Paulson falsely claims it will prevent; the man has ZERO credibility in these matters.
J. Goldberg wisely concurs:
Paulson’s plan basically says, “I am the Lord thy God,” and that’s crazy. Also, it seems to me that Newt and the editors of NR are right when they worry that the Paulson plan essentially opens the door to unending government control of capital markets and that, too, is just crazy. Even if I completely trusted the wisdom of Paulson and his bureaucrats — which I don’t — there’s no way that I trust the Dodds, Franks or the next Treasury secretary. Every day the markets don’t go off the cliff suggests to me that we can do this in stages and that Paulson’s do-it-my-way-or-it’s-the-Dark-Ages-for-us-all argument doesn’t hold water.
I hope everyone doesn’t mind if I remind them once again that the “Dark Ages” were a myth. As is the idea that Henry Paulson’s just slightly self-serving assertion that giving him Caesar-like power and trillions of dollars is all that stands between American and economic catastrophe.
UPDATE – Unbelievably, Wall Street IS ATTEMPTING TO PLAY THE FREE MARKET CARD in defense of wildly overpaid executives:
Wall Street, its lobbyists and trade groups are waging a feverish lobbying campaign to try to fight compensation curbs. Pay restrictions, they say, would sap incentives to hard work and innovation, and hurt the financial sector and the American economy.
“We support the bill, but we are opposed to provisions on executive pay,” said Scott Talbott, senior vice president for government affairs at the Financial Services Roundtable, a trade group. “It is not appropriate for government to be setting the salaries of executives.”
Some corporate governance experts say hastily devised compensation curbs in the bailout package would be a mistake and perhaps open the door to unintended consequences.
Clearly the Indians have the correct view of how to reward these disgusting and shameless creatures. Americans should tell George Bush, Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke and all of Wall Street to go to Hell without passing Go or collecting $200, let alone $700 billion. Their exercise of power has been the problem, so giving them more will only exacerbate it.