After the bailout passed, the stock market turned lower. Was it because investors then thought harder about how the politicians will misspend our $700 billion? All government can do is move money from one part of the economy to another. What makes anyone assume the government knows best where the money should be?
Steven Horwitz, an economics professor at St. Lawrence University, got it right when he wrote, "There will be short-term pain if we don't bail out these firms, but that is the hangover price we pay for 15 years or more of binge lending. The proposed bailout cannot prevent the pain of the hangover; it can only conceal it by shifting and dispersing it among the taxpayers and an economy weakened by the borrowing, taxing and/or inflation needed to pay for that $700 billion. Better we should take our short-term pain straight up and clean out the mistakes of our binge and then get back to the business of free markets without creating an unchecked executive branch monstrosity trying to 'save' those who profited most from the binge and harming innocent taxpayers in the process".
Sure, without the bailout, there might have been a severe recession. Bubbles must pop. But it's important that we let bubbles pop. Markets would then find a floor and recover.
Now the politicians are blowing some new air into the bubble, but we may have a recession anyway. And with more intervention, regulation and ambiguity about what the real market prices for those government-supported securities are, investors won't know where the real bottom is.
So any recession will last longer. And the moral hazard the bailout perpetuates will lead to new bubbles ... and then demands for another bailout.
Free enterprise sounds nice. We should try it sometime.
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