Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Capital Hill

No, it’s not a typo. It appears that the vast majority of our members of Congress desire a career change. They have gone from public servants to venture capitalists. Capitol Hill, once the bastion of Constitutional defense that guaranteed, uniquely in this world, that the people would be heard and represented has become Capital Hill, the central headquarters of one of the largest investment and loan operations in the world. Obamunism is painting the whole town bright red. The Big O is trying to downplay it, of course. Secretary Geithner backed away from the idea of federally controlled banks, saying that, “Governments are terrible managers of bad assets”. Regardless, the Big O is pressing forward with an agenda that will make our banking system look like Sweden’s – an even more systematically socialist approach than Japan’s bailouts, which the Big O says didn’t go far enough.

And where are our free market defenders?

In the Left Lurch
Astoundingly, many Republicans on Capital Hill are beginning to think that nationalization of the American banking system is not such a bad idea after all. Senator Lindsay Graham, once a conservative but now merely a Republican, is quoted in a Financial Times interview as saying, “You should not get caught up on a word [nationalisation]. I would argue that we cannot be ideologically a little bit pregnant. It doesn’t matter what you call it, but we can’t keep on funding these zombie banks [without gaining public control].”

Senator Graham said that it didn’t make any sense to throw good money after bad into institutions that now have lower values than the amount of public bailout money they’ve already received.

Stop. That actually makes sense. Don’t throw good money after bad. Stop there.

But no. Republicans like Graham aren’t stopping there. They’re taking a hard left turn and actually supporting the idea that nationalization of at least some banks will be a good idea to help the economy.

Has the phrase ‘free market correction’ left their vocabulary entirely? Yes, it hurts. It hurts a lot. But it doesn’t hurt as long and it doesn’t leave the economy crippled for a decade or more trying to right itself after such a hack job intervention as partial (or, God forbid, total) nationalization of the financial sector. Free market corrections leave the American economy leaner, cleaner and far better able to compete on the global stage precisely because Americans adapt, innovate and find ways to work ourselves out of the economic pain we hate to feel. ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ and all that. When did we (or at least our politicians) become so allergic to discomfort that we would rather throw our American ideals – and proven successes - down the toilet than deal with the shot-term suffering of making the right decisions?

An even more important question: if some of the leading Republicans on Capital Hill are buying into the new Obamunism, who are we left with to carry the flags of conservatism and free market capitalism?

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