AIM Column | By Cliff Kincaid |
...the best chance for conservative principles to prevail was to follow the conservative principles embodied in the 2008 Republican platform.
Now that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has essentially admitted that his Wall Street bailout plan isn’t working, it’s worthwhile to examine the fawning media coverage he received when he pressured President Bush and Congress into approving it. “This former investment banker may be the right man at the right time,” was one of the headlines over a gushing September 29 Newsweek article by Daniel Gross. Among his attributes, we were told, Paulson was an Eagle Scout.
But as an Eagle Scout myself, I seem to remember that the Boy Scout motto was “Be prepared.” Paulson seems not to be prepared for anything.
As Michelle Malkin, who was opposed to the bailout, puts it in her new column: “The man doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing.”
In a separate Newsweek article in the same issue, Fareed Zakaria said, “In Paulson, America is extremely fortunate to have a man of tremendous intelligence, drive and pragmatism, who will engage in ‘bold and persistent experimentation’ until the job is done.” The article was headlined “Big Government to the Rescue.”
In retrospect, the phrase “persistent experimentation” apparently means making mistake after mistake and not being held accountable for them.
Making Paulson out to be the boy next door, Newsweek included a series of photos apparently taken from the Paulson family album. There was a photo of Paulson as a “college football star,” a photo of the “nature-loving Paulson” holding a hawk, a photo of Paulson on a kayak, and so on.
But there was a bit of hard news in the piece. Paulson, Gross reported, “had always been a Republican¯but more a Rockefeller Republican than a DeLay.” This is another way of saying that this Wall Street banker and former CEO of Goldman Sachs is a liberal. A better description would be Wall Street socialist. So how did he end up as Bush’s Treasury Secretary? He was recruited for the job by White House chief of staff Josh Bolten, who, from 1994 to 1999, was Executive Director for Legal & Government Affairs at Goldman Sachs International in London.
“In many ways, Paulson was the ideal person to deal with this mess,” Gross reported at the time. Paulson was “noted for self-discipline, focus on controlling risk and mastery of detail.” Now he comes across as a dummy who not only doesn’t know what he’s doing but isn’t willing to step aside so that someone more knowledgeable can take command.
Meanwhile, President George W. Bush seems even more clueless. He gave a Thursday speech to the Manhattan Institute pretending that American-style capitalism still exists. “I’m a market-oriented guy, but not when I’m faced with the prospect of a global meltdown,” Bush said. He went on to say, “History has shown that the greater threat to economic prosperity is not too little government involvement in the market, it is too much government involvement in the market.”
Does the President realize that he is contradicting himself? Needless to say, none of this inspires confidence. His bizarre comments receive little attention because he is considered a lame duck and Paulson is really running the show.
Now free to speak her mind, Alaska Governor and former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has weighed in, telling The Weekly Standard that she is getting tired of Paulson’s changes to the bailout plan. “I think the surprises make the electorate distrust elected officials and their ability to appoint people who are to be looking out for the public’s interest,” she says. This is an understatement. People not only don’t trust the government, they are getting angry at the reckless policies that threaten national bankruptcy and may consign generations of Americans to living under socialism.
However, Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, tried to convince House Republicans to vote for the plan that Palin now attacks in the pages of his magazine. Kristol endorsed Paulson’s plan, saying “failing to pass it will exacerbate them [financial problems], and will keep the markets in a state of roiling uncertainty at best, and meltdown at worst.” So what has happened since its passage? As you may have noticed, the markets have continued in uncertainty and we seem to be undergoing a meltdown.
Kristol added at the time that “House Republicans should help pass the bill. I think it’s the only responsible thing to do in terms of the economy. But I also think it’s the only way McCain has a chance to win.” He added that, “Passing the bailout would give McCain a fighting chance to win, which in turn provides the best chance¯the only chance¯for conservative principles to prevail in the next few years.”
In fact, the best chance for conservative principles to prevail was to follow the conservative principles embodied in the 2008 Republican platform. That document declared,“We do not support government bailouts of private institutions. Government interference in the markets exacerbates problems in the marketplace and causes the free market to take longer to correct itself.”
You may have noticed that McCain, who followed Kristol’s advice and voted for the bailout, went down to defeat on November 4. By the way, most House Republicans voted against the bailout. They have been proven right by events. It would be nice if Kristol would admit the error of his ways. But that is not a practice that is commonplace in conservative or liberal media circles these days.
Similarly, Paulson didn’t really admit that he himself had made a mistake. Instead, hedeclared on Wednesday that “It was clear to me by the time the bill was signed on October 3rd that we needed to act quickly and forcefully, and that purchasing troubled assets¯our initial focus¯would take time to implement and would not be sufficient given the severity of the problem.”
In other words, by the time that the bill had been signed, Paulson knew that the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) that he had proposed wouldn’t work. That is why he quickly changed the plan to use the taxpayer money to buy stakes in banks. Now, “new strategies” are being tried and developed, he says. And it is all being done, of course, at our expense.
One of the new strategies, he indicated, will come out of Saturday’s international financial summit in Washington, D.C. The nations of the world must develop a “shared interest in a solution” on a global level, he says.
Bush, in his speech, called for “leading nations” to “better coordinate national laws and regulations.” He urged the “reform” of international financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank so that their “governance structures” come to “better reflect the realities of today’s global economy.”
I think I’m starting to get it. First it was “Big Government to the Rescue.” But since that didn’t work, we now need “Global Government to the Rescue.” We will not only lose our money but the sovereignty of our nation. Our media have been active accomplices in this unfolding catastrophe.
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