Someone in the world of editorial columns recently predicted that a “bailout backlash” would begin in the year 2010.
Could we arrange for that backlash to get started a little sooner - - like, now?
It’s understandable if Americans aren’t paying attention to the machinations of government at the moment. Most of us just wrapped-up a somewhat anxious holiday season, and gladly said goodbye to a difficult 2008.
But the new Congress launches this week, and the new President takes office in less than three weeks. And if you’ve been angered by the ways the current President and Congress have tossed around your tax dollars, consider what might be ahead.
First, here’s a quick review. The so-called “bailouts” of banking and financial institutions last fall are old news now, and whether or not Treasury Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke “saved the world” from a far worse economic collapse is debatable. But to the extent that one can actually follow how Paulson has disbursed our $700 billion, one thing is clear: he has not allocated the revenues in the ways he stated that he needed to - - by buying up “troubled assets” (bad loans) from lenders - - when he was pressuring Congress to pass the bailout legislation.
Then came the Automotive industry’s turn to beg for financial aid, and they almost got it from the Congress. But the Republican minority in the Senate held-out for some modest measures of accountability, in exchange for the cash, demanding that the United Autoworkers Union adjust assembly line wages so as to make them more compatible with those of the successful foreign car companies with manufacturing operations here in the U.S.
Of course, the United Autoworkers Union refused to agree to accountability, and the legislation failed. But President Bush quickly stepped-in to bankroll the auto industry’s dysfunction for a few more months, dipping-in to the Treasury Department’s “bank bailout” fund and dolling-out a few billion to General Motors and Chrysler. This was a flagrant violation by Bush of the intended purposes of the bank bailout fund. Worse yet, the President then attempted to explain his maneuver in an interview with CNN, stating, in a moment of frightening irrationality, that “I abandoned free market principles to save the free market system."
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.