The federal government has committed $3 trillion in bailout money to automobile and financial companies. In London, the G-20 met amid protest signs with the seductively socialistic declaration: "Capitalism Isn't Working: Another World Is Possible." Given this climate, herewith recent quotations about an economy in devastation.
Terry Gou, the head of Taipei's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the world's largest manufacturer of electronics by revenue -- on the slump in the global technology industry: "The worst has not yet come. The problem is three times worse than everybody thinks."
John Tamny, editor of RealClearMarkets.com: "What's wrong right now is that investors don't trust the federal policies that got us here, and they're correctly horrified that the architects of today's crisis will now be given seemingly unlimited money to fix that which they broke. In short, investors have lost confidence in . . . a Washington political class whose very confusion has made the formerly venerated U.S. economy a laughingstock."
Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes: "Alan Greenspan made headlines recently when he 'confessed' that his free market philosophy, which had worked for him for 40 years, had failed him with the credit crisis. Democrats licked their chops: This seemed to confirm their campaign mantra that Bush deregulation had caused the whole dreadful mess. . . . (But) the housing bubble never would have reached such obese proportions had it not been for Greenspan's weak-dollar policy."
Edmund Phelps, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in economics and director of Columbia's Center on Capitalism and Society: "Right now, our banking industry is barely operational. Whatever the corrective surgery indicated, the priority is to get the system operating. . . . What has occurred is not just an old-fashioned banking crisis, but also a banking scandal. Most of the big banks were shot through with short-termism, deceptive practices, and self-dealing."
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn: "The root of the problem is political greed in Congress. Members . . . from both parties wanted short-term political credit for promoting homeownership even though they were putting our entire economy at risk by encouraging people to buy homes they couldn't afford. Then, instead of conducting thorough oversight and correcting obvious problems with unstable entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, members of Congress chose to . . . distract themselves with unprecedented amounts of pork-barrel spending."
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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