Great piece on how the entire bailout is one collossal waste of money and example of “throwing good money after bad.” For example, the pledged total bailout funds pf $8T exceed the entire market cap of the S&P 500. Wow.
Useful collection of bearish charts. While a certain optimism has its place, the naive hope that we can unwind the lunacy of the last ten years and the inherent instability of our post-1970s experiment with fiat currency is not exactly conservative. It’s stupid. And I’m sick of stupid people talking half-intelligently about a bottom in 2009 or 2010. No one knows where it is, but it’s probably a ways off.
Incidentally, of all the stupid things that have come down the pike in recent years, one of the dumbest is the idea that conservatism is all about optimism. It’s not. It’s a certain attitude about change that includes a love of traditional American institutions and folkways rooted in a respect for our heritage, our ancestors, our past, including that past’s recognition of the necessary limits of government and human nature. Our Founders’ achievements acquire even more respect in light of the human material with which they were working and the sorry history of most other times and peoples. By contrast, the left’s pessemism, which was in full effect in the 1970s after Vietnam, was rooted in contempt for Western Civilization, a cult of the exotic, and hatred of our known way of life. That affectation does not mean we must, in order to oppose them, embrace a naive, exceptionalist optimism which is much more the province of America’s Englightenment-rooted liberals and their gospel of “progress.”
Finally, Gary Becker and Dick Posner both dissect Obama’s housing help for losers. Just to be clear: I don’t like the bank bailouts, but I don’t like them for the same reason I don’t like most expensive welfare state projects and see no reason to have two huge welfare programs in the name of symmetry: they’re both inefficient, they reward bad behavior, they don’t come with the strings and incentives of private charity, they distort markets, and they siphon money from the most productive people and companies and give it to unproductive people. Like most welfare, the collectively harmful but personally beneficial skill of wrangling funds from the public coffers is the only thing being rewarded.
I’ve been opposed to all of this nonsense: the stimulus, the TARP, and now the housing help for improvident homeowners. After all, we’re not talking about sending people to Siberia but foreclosure; they can still rent, and they can buy again some day. They and new homeowners would both benefit from allowing prices to find their natural floor. Liquidate everything. Obama’s problem is that all his sour talk about our hopeless economy is parried with incredible (literally) optimism about the power of government to sort everything out without any tradeoffs. His limousine liberal supporters, indebted young professionals, private business owners, fixed income recipients, anyone with any position in the stock market, and those who do pay their mortgages are all about to find out they’re the “rich” that are going to get soaked becuase there simply are not enough hedge fund empressarios to foot the bill, and they too have lost huge sums of wealth due to their stupid gambles.