I am not a fan of former U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner. He presided over the politically conceived, patently unconstitutional and anti-free market taxpayer bailouts of banks, automakers and insurance companies in the latter part of the administration of former President George W. Bush, when he was the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and during the first term of President Obama, when he was the secretary of the Treasury.
In those years and still today he has argued that aggressive government intervention leads to a stronger financial system because the government will take risks with taxpayer money that the taxpayers themselves will not take with it. He believes in the use of government coercion, rather than the voluntary choices of consumers and investors.
Those of us who embrace the free market do so not only because it has produced more broad-based prosperity than any government has, but also because it offers the only moral system of financial exchanges for goods and services because in a truly free market every exchange is voluntary. Coercing money from taxpayers to pay for the failures of businesses is theft.
We also argue that the recession of 2008 was largely caused by the bursting of the housing bubble, and that bubble was induced by the government. The Federal Reserve, on whose board Geithner sat, commanded artificially low interest rates that encouraged wild speculative borrowing, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, those federal government garbage cans, used taxpayer dollars to buy all the bad loans the imprudent lenders could sell them. This, too, encouraged wild and speculative loans to people who could not afford to repay them.
But I write today not to rehash old arguments. Regrettably, the government today -- the welfare and warfare states in which we Americans now live -- is comfortably in the hands of progressives. With the exception of the Goldwater and early Reagan years, the leadership of both major political parties has been dominated by progressives -- heavy progressives in the Democratic Party and light progressives in the Republican Party -- since World War II. These politicians are disciples of Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, two presidents who turned the Constitution on its head.