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OpenMarket: Subsidies and Bailouts

  • Russ Roberts on Greenspan's recanting

    October 24, 2008

    Russ Roberts this morning on CafeHayek has two posts on Alan Greenspan's abject testimony on Capital Hill yesterday. One goes through some of the mea culpa replies to Chairman Waxman's aggressive baiting. As Roberts leads off,

    Alan Greenspan has been forced to admit the heresy of his youth. He has recanted.

    Roberts' second post portrays Greenspan as the ghost of Milton Friedman:

    In one of the most shocking and eerie moments in the history of Congress, the ghost of Milton Friedman recently completed an appearance on Capitol Hill before the House Committee of Government Oversight and Reform. Appearing...

  • A sunny future for capitalism?

    October 24, 2008
    Strangely, Hudson Institute scholar Irwin Stelzer seems to forecast a sunny future for capitalism in a DC Examiner op-ed today. Stelzer writes about the current financial/bail out crisis -- the one at which Congress recently threw some $700 billion of money earned by the American people. The one that now has the federal government as owner and investor in some major banks and lending institutions. The one that is likely to prompt further regulatory and bail out efforts in Congress. So, I don't see Stelzer's point that the "capitalism that will emerge from our current trials will be a New Capitalism, not socialism or some other ism." Moreover, the rhetoric in the public arena has grown decidedly more hostile to economic freedom (i.e. capitalism). Just this week, for example...
  • We Should All Change Our Name to Fannie Mae

    October 24, 2008
    Arlo Guthrie takes on federal bail-outs in a new song.  He plans on heading down to Washington, D.C.  After changing his name to Fannie Mae he's going to put his hand out for his own bail out:  "What they did for Freddie Mac will be perfectly acceptable to me."
  • The Road to Serfdom--Illustrated!

    October 23, 2008
    Thanks to CEI colleague Gary Howard for sending along The Road to Serfdom in Cartoons; I'd forgotten all about this capsule version of Hayek's masterwork. It's worth a read when we live in a world plagued all at once not just by a financial crisis and bailout, but by what the Wall Street Journal calls tax-and-spend "Obamanomics" from one candidate and a sweeping, trillion-dollar-plus cap-and-trade energy program by another; an arrogant United Nations agenda to restructure the global economy around green technology and a global "New Deal"; and "professors" united in an...
  • Don't Scapegoat Free Markets

    October 22, 2008
    Even the liberal Washington Post (which has endorsed the more liberal candidate in every presidential election since 1952) points out that the "free market" is not to blame for the recent financial meltdown -- a point also made in the conservative Washington Examiner and the liberal Village Voice. "The market that failed was not exactly free," notes its editorial:
    The deregulation of U.S. financial markets did not reflect only the narrow ideology of a particular party or administration. And the problem with the U.S....
  • CEI Partners with NTU to Launch BeyondBailouts.org

    October 22, 2008
    Did the free market cause the financial crisis?  Was it unbridled capitalism? The Competitive Enterprise Institute and the National Taxpayers Union don't believe for a minute that capitalism caused the financial crisis.  How can we be so confident?  Because capitalism doesn't exist in the United States, especially in the financial sector.

    Nearly every industry in the U.S. finds itself making regular pilgrimages to Washington to seek special favors—subsidies for this or that, regulations that harm competitors or smaller firms, or trade deals that benefit their industry while hurting the American consumer.  No, America doesn't have a capitalist system, we have a system of special favors, handouts, and perversion of the free market.

    ...

  • That $800 Billion

    October 22, 2008
    So what has Paulson done so far with your $800 billion? He's rewarded his friends, of course. $70 BILLION has gone to executives and staff. The Guardian reports:
    Financial workers at Wall Street's top banks are to receive pay deals worth more than $70bn (£40bn), a substantial proportion of which is expected to be paid in discretionary bonuses, for their work so far this year - despite plunging the global financial system into its worst crisis since the 1929 stock market crash, the Guardian has learned. Staff at six banks including...
  • They're In The Money

    October 21, 2008
    We're hearing from a variety of sources that Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, has agreed in principle to be Obama's Treasury Secretary. Dimon worked hand-in-glove with Hank Paulson over the Bear Stearns bailout. The new boss, it appears, will be the same as the old boss. Looks like the revolving door between Wall Street and the Treasury Department ain't going to stop any time soon. In a related note, the excellent Capital Research Center, which has done so much good explaining how leftist NGOs dictate public policy, has now turned its lights on Goldman Sachs...
  • National Debt Clock Out of Space

    October 21, 2008

    In 1989 Manhattan real estate developer erected the national debt clock near Times Square. The total was "only" $2.7 trillion. With the debt busting past $10 trillion, the clock is now out of room. Reports the Associated Press:

    In a sign of the times, the National Debt Clock in New York City has run out of digits to record the growing figure. As a short-term fix, the digital dollar sign on the billboard-style clock near Times Square has been switched...
  • Bernanke testifies on possible fiscal stimulus package

    October 20, 2008

    Signals that the government's not finished with its bailout plans -- this time downstream stimulus.  In testimony today before the House Budget Committee on Economic Recovery: Options and Challenges, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke noted what direction Congress should take if it plans a fiscal stimulus package:

    If the Congress proceeds with a fiscal package, it should consider including measures to help improve access to credit by consumers, homebuyers, businesses, and other borrowers.  Such actions might be particularly effective at promoting economic growth and job creation.

    The hearing with other witnesses is available live at http://budget.house...

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