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Change For A Dollar?

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009 3:55 AM

On Sunday's Meet the Press, Sen. John Ensign dismissed criticism by Rep. Barney Frank - that Republican cuts to the stimulus package would cause teachers and firefighters to be laid off - as 'fear mongering.'

Unfortunately, Frank is correct and Ensign is wrong, as the Wall Street Journal reports that without funds from the stimulus package, California will be forced to make cuts in education and police funding.


The most common criticism of the stimulus plan is that it costs too much money. Unfortunately, this is the usual consequence of ignoring a problem or fucking something up: you pay more in time, money, and effort to set things right.

This lesson should not be lost on the Democrats, either. The billion-dollar bank bailout boondoggle bonanza is a prime example, as are the USA PATRIOT Act and the Authorization for Use of Military Force that paved the way for Bush's little adventure in Iraq.


I'm not sure what Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has in mind, but his plan for the remaining $350 billion of the bailout fund doesn't seem to be much of an improvement over the original 'let's just hand the money to the same guys who fucked up in the first place' plan of his predecessor, Henry Paulson.

Oh, yes - there will be stern looks, finger-waggling, and various tongue-lashings on Capitol Hill, no doubt - but that still isn't addressing the basic problem. It's not that the banks are being given monies to keep them liquid, it's that those monies must, in turn, be used to extend credit and liquidity to the consumer and small business owner, so that the cycle of spending can be restarted.

But underlying that is the need for confidence in both the market and its leaders, something that's not going to be restored as we watch financial executives scrambling for their bonuses and golden parachutes, or legislative hand-wringing and enabling of same.


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