With much of American finance and industry either on the government dole or desperately trying to get on it, market constraints on political abuses have fallen dramatically. Writes Irwin Steltzer:
Paulson, of course, continues to preside over the billions-going-on-trillions that will be made available to whatever industries make the best case for a hand-out. You might recall that the Treasury Secretary came to Washington after heading up Goldman Sachs, a firm now reporting billions in losses after abandoning its business model in favor of status as a government-sheltered commercial bank. Nothing more clearly demonstrates the shift of power from Wall Street to Washington than the Paulson saga. Once the man who raised private-sector funds for private-sector businesses from his perch at Goldman, he is now the man who distributes taxpayer funds to private-sector businesses from his perch at the Treasury.John McCain denounced Barack Obama for being a "socialist" for wanting to increase taxes. But it's the endless bail-outs, supported by Sen. McCain, and so many other Republicans, that have cost America its designation as a genuine free market economy.