Heres something thats too big to fail: Americas entrepreneurial spirit. But no one seems to care about that. Instead, were 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 dont 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 pushes rewarding reckless companies with taxpayer handouts. Meanwhile, both Democrats and Republicans recommend rewarding risky borrowers by keeping them in the houses they cant 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 Bushs 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 and Franklin Delano Roosevelts 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.