The Great Bank Robbery of 2008

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The Paulson bailout failed in the House. If it isn’t a deathblow to the plan, it should be. This is not an economic plan: it is a heist.

It will go down as The Great Bank Robbery of 2008.

The economics behind it are nonsense, but we are naïve if we spend much time even considering the "arguments" for it. This is a money and power grab, pure and simple.

Just as magazine covers today feature scantily clad women that would have been scandalous a generation ago, in the same manner Paulson’s proposal — made in broad daylight and on national TV! — is almost naked in its audacity.

Austrian economists tend to be libertarians in their political views, and they are often chided for not keeping these systems hermetically sealed and separated in their minds. Fortunately, this alleged vice is a virtue in our present situation. Because of all the mumbo jumbo thrown around to show why the plan is necessary, some very sharp academic economists are in a tizzy trying to treat this as an extra-credit question, rather than a crime scene. That is a waste of time.

In this article, we will of course cover why the Keynesian justifications — coming from a "free-market" administration — are nonsense. But in the grand scheme, that’s not entirely relevant. People didn’t seriously consider the testimony of the tobacco company CEOs about the nonexistent dangers of smoking, because everyone knew those executives stood to lose billions from the settlement. So by the same token, no one should pay much attention to the official statements made by Henry Paulson, since he stands to personally be put in charge of doling out hundreds of billions of dollars to some of the most powerful people on the planet.

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Bob Murphy [send him mail] runs the blog Free Advice.

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