Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Why I Was a Teenage Libertarian - Updated

Here are some statements from Barack Obama and John McCain on the proposed $700 billion bail out of financial firms.

As he has said before, [Candidate X] said five principles must be included: greater accountability and independent oversight; a path for taxpayers to recoup the money; transparency in decisions on which companies to help; a cap on the executive pay of those companies that take part and no earmarks in the plan for any specific businesses.

Adding some specificity to proposals he has already made, [Candidate Y], the [Republican or Democratic] presidential nominee, called for a payback plan for taxpayers if the bailout succeeds; a bipartisan board to oversee the bailout; limits on any federal money going to compensate Wall Street executives; and aid to homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages.

So it's crunch time, the first test of leadership, both candidates are campaigning on their vision of change and we get THIS? You can decipher which candidate is which by clicking the embedded links. And even if you guess right, so what, what's the difference? As I disclosed earlier, this year I changed party registration from Libertarian to Republican, but b.s. like this makes me wonder why.

KT will scold me, saying something has to be done. And I am sympathetic to avoiding a total meltdown. But a big fat giveaway? Come on. How about using this country's existing bankruptcy laws to let these firms keep operating while they shed debt and overpaid CEOs. Maybe an emergency review of those laws, rather a government give away would prevent the taxpayers from getting soaked. And for a long term reform, we need some transparency about the value of assets on the books in our accounting standards. Nobody knows the value of credit default derivatives. People don't even know who owns their mortgages.

At least Joe Biden is making things entertaining with his inability to know when to stop, as KT predicted he would. Newsweek's Andrew Romano gets credit for the week's best headline, "Biden Fires Up The Gaffe-O-Matic."

Update #1:

Ron Paul does a great job of explaining this mess. His key points are that prolonged, artificially low interest rates combined with government intervention into the housing market created a real estate bubble that is now bursting. Continuing to prop up the market only prolongs the pain and increases moral hazard. Ron Paul is at his cogent best, calmly and rationally explaining this issue in terms that I believe will even resonate with KT.

I liked John McCain's initial gut reaction that AIG should not be bailed out. I trust his gut instincts and wish he would go with them more often.



K T Cat said...

Reply later. Still tired from Blogworld. All blogged out for a while.



K T Cat said...

Oh yes, and thanks for the link!