Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Remember When

It seems like there once was a time when Republicans would argue against massive government interventions in private lives and businesses. There was a lot of talk about government being the problem not the solution and how government should just butt out and let people do their own thing so that the economy could flourish. Throwing money at a problem rarely fixes it, they'd say.

How the times have changed. We're now looking at throwing a $700 billion bailout for just about every financial institution in the country. If this is what it looks like when government butts out, I'd hate to see the price tag for when it gets involved.

The Republicans, though, seem unwilling to entirely abandon their non-interference mode of thought and so are trying to just give away the $700 billion without requiring any real oversight over how Wall Street uses the money. You know, because they've done such a good job so far.

I'm not much of an economist and I really can't say whether this kind of bailout (it's being called the biggest federal intervention in the economy since the Great Depression) will actually solve the economic crisis. To my non-expert eyes, though, it doesn't make a lot of sense to give a failing industry a huge chunk of cash and say, "Do what you think it best." There does need to be some oversight and some guarantees in place that I'm going to get my money back eventually. I would hate to have to be paying off this debt at the same time I'm trying to pay off the Social Security debts we'll be racking up as the Boomers retire.

Now that Republicans are coming in line with massive federal intervention designed to support a failing private industry for the good of ordinary citizens, we should be seeing universal health care pretty soon, right? Well, I can always dream.

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