Simply put: it's not ‘Free’ – not for the taxpayers, anyway.
President Bush: “Our system of free enterprise rests on the conviction that the federal government should interfere in the marketplace only when necessary. Given the precarious state of today’s financial markets and their vital importance to the daily lives of the American people, government intervention is not only warranted, it is essential.”
Essential to maintaining the position of the unscrupulous wastrels, socio-pathic mega-gamblers, and the morally bankrupt business elite, that is.
John McCain weighed in, as well. The Straight-talking Senator was asked by Scott Pelley of ‘60 Minutes’ if he still defended his support of deregulating the financial industry in light of the fiasco on Wall Street.
Scott Pelley: “In 1999, you were one of the senators who helped pass deregulation of Wall Street. Do you regret that now?”
Sen. McCain: “No. I think the deregulation was probably helpful to the growth of our economy.”
It should be remembered that McCain’s former advisor on economic affairs, Phil Gramm, was one of the principal conspirators in pushing through legislation de-regulating the banking industry.
Meanwhile, on the Hill, Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson feels that American taxpayers who are caught in the credit squeeze created by the mis-management of investment bankers are not entitled to bail-outs or assistance.
Henry Paulson: “The ultimate taxpayer protection will be the stability this troubled asset relief program provides to our financial system, even as it will involve a significant investment of taxpayer dollars. I am convinced that this bold approach will cost American families far less than the alternative—a continuing series of financial institution failures and frozen credit markets unable to fund economic expansion.”
How Mr Paulson has been able to foretell the future with sufficient accuracy to determine ‘the alternative’ to the American people shelling out an estimated $1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) to rescue failed businesses when he presumably could not foresee the current financial debacle remains unanswered. Mr Paulson did not elaborate upon whether or not other less extreme, less ‘bold approach(es)’ had been considered.
It is evident that President Bush and his administration are confident of the largesse of the American taxpayer to rescue even foreign banks from the financial calamity brought on by deregulation and the ‘Free Market’. Over the weekend, the size of the proposed bailout grew as the Bush administration said foreign banks, including Barclays and UBS, should be eligible for the bailout. The Financial Times reports some industry groups are lobbying for the fund to grow even larger by including a clause that would allow banks to account for any losses realized over a number of years.
Secretary Paulson is convinced that the American people will be less burdened by this $1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) bail-out than by any attempt by the Fed or the Treasury to assist those millions of home-owners facing fore-closure, homelessness and destitution. Mr Paulson did not expound upon this irrationality.
His worry is ‘economic expansion’, and those folks in foreclosure as a result of predatory sub-prime loan programs simply cannot be expected to be a viable part of the anticipated ‘economic expansion’. Now, that’s what some wags might call ‘compassionate conservatism’.