Friday, September 26, 2008

Santa Came Early

There is no downside to the Paulson/Bernanke plan if you are a Congress-critter. It is the whole list of goodies from Santa and you don’t have to wait until Christmas. It doesn’t matter which side of the proposal you are on. You’ve got lots to love.

Consider some of these:

  1. You get a chance to pontificate at length on anything even remotely connected to the economy.
  2. You get to characterize the other party as the cause. It doesn’t matter that the problem took three decades to mature and that both parties occupied the White House and the Capital during the gestation. It was the other guy who did it.
  3. You can posture as part of the corrective action. If you support the plan, you saved the economy. If you oppose the plan you defended the taxpayer.
  4. You get to create a new class struggle terminology. The arguments of “working poor” versus “wealthiest x percent” are so yesterday. Now you’ve got Wall Street versus Main Street—one side an esoteric bunch of self-serving financiers taking profit from the downtrodden proletariat. The other side, the common man struggling to eke out a living for his downtrodden and oppressed family about to be ousted from their McMansion which they haven’t made a payment on since Bertha had the fifth baby.
  5. You find justification for building on the pretense that it is the government's job to establish fairness in compensation. Just as you’ve bleated about minimum wage for years, now you can grab at the other end and cap the compensation of free market corporations on top executives. Tell me, how can that have a single impact of any sort on the mortgage market and credit availability? Tell me also how that will foster anything but lack of ambition among the most talented managers and mediocrity in our industry?
  6. You get to create a huge bureaucracy that will provide you campaign support for decades while simultaneously moving America down the inexorable path toward socialism. It will be the perfect political solution, an entity which contributes absolutely nothing to the economy while simultaneously providing you the Congress-critter with an over-sight finger in the total pie. You gain tremendous impact and increase the ability to replace expertise with emotionalism and pandering in the decision process.
  7. You have access to an incredible unforeseen pool of money which you can dispense to whomever will offer you the most immediate gratification whether it is in votes, kickbacks, power, or comforts. Dispense a quick “stimulus” check or two to only those likely to support you and you will be assured of victory.

Take a look at this comparison list from the two Presidential contenders:

• Create a bipartisan board to monitor the payout to distressed lenders.
• Track who receives money and give the public access to those transactions, including on the Internet.
• Cap executive compensation for rescued companies to no more than what the top government official receives.
• Ban unrelated measures, or earmarks, attached to the legislation.
• Provide a way for taxpayers to recover the money.
• Cap executive compensation of companies that receive money.
• Create a bipartisan board to provide oversight of and accountability on the bailout.
• Return any profits made by the government; institute a new fee on financial services to repay the government.
• Provide assistance to help to families struggling to stay in their homes.

Tell me how some of these proposals are going to do anything at all for the problem. Notice how some of those programs are grabbing at the money to dispense to individuals. Notice how some of the proposals alter the free market forever.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Spot on.