Free Markets, Free People

It’s Bush’s Fault. And Paulson’s. And Bernanke’s. And ….

John McCain, under attack for his part in approving TARP, is now claiming he was “misled”:

In response to criticism from opponents seeking to defeat him in the Aug. 24 Republican primary, the four-term senator says he was misled by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. McCain said the pair assured him that the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program would focus on what was seen as the cause of the financial crisis
, the housing meltdown.

“Obviously, that didn’t happen,” McCain said in a meeting Thursday with The Republic’s Editorial Board, recounting his decision-making during the critical initial days of the fiscal crisis. “They decided to stabilize the Wall Street institutions, bail out (insurance giant) AIG, bail out Chrysler, bail out General Motors. . . . What they figured was that if they stabilized Wall Street – I guess it was trickle-down economics – that therefore Main Street would be fine.

Well one reason it wasn’t used only for the “housing meltdown” is because the law apparently didn’t specify it must be. Consequently one has to conclude it was McCain and those who wrote the law and voted for it who are responsible for what happened.  They a wrote bad law.  They fell for the drama.  They threw almost a trillion dollars out there and are now complaining that it wasn’t used as they “thought” it would be used.  Really?

If they were going to pass this travesty anyway, why wasn’t it limited to what the people who brought the problem to them (Paulson and Bernanke) said constituted the problem?  How did it end up bailing out auto companies and AIG?

Bad law.  And the ones responsible for writing th law include this guy trying to pass of the blame to others.

Secondly, there’s this:

McCain said Bush called him in off the campaign trail, saying a worldwide economic catastrophe was imminent and that he needed his help. “I don’t know of any American, when the president of the United States calls you and tells you something like that, who wouldn’t respond,” McCain said. “And I came back and tried to sit down and work with Republicans and say, ‘What can we do?’

Responding is one thing. But when your constituents are dead set against it, to whom should he really be responding? Well, who does he supposedly represent?  What McCain is really saying is “when the president tells you he wants you to pass a bad law, you salute and do what he says”.  Really?  “Response” apparently means saying ok to unconstitutional spending.  Not that Mr. McCain/Feingold has much use for the Constitution.

So, bad law, ignoring his constituents and now blaming others.

Sounds like a pretty typical politician who has spent way too much time inside the beltway to me – a politician well past his “incumbent expiration” date.

~McQ

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19 Responses to It’s Bush’s Fault. And Paulson’s. And Bernanke’s. And ….

  • “McCain said Bush called him in off the campaign trail, saying a worldwide economic catastrophe was imminent and that he needed his help”

    Obviously SuperMc has watched too many cartoons. It’s time for him to take his cape and retire to the Old Superheroes Home. 

    How long has this guy been in the Senate? I am sure Paulson et al. did ‘mislead’ him, but he has enough experience to know better.  Or perhaps he did, but just could not resist taking a bold, unpopular, maverick position. Not the sort of judgement you want in a position of importance.  Or even a Senator.

  • He is saying that he voted for a bill that he didn’t read and it bit him.
    Maybe he should read and understand what he is voting on next time.

  • Act in haste, repent in leisure.
     

  • It pleases me to see McCain doing the “Save my Ass” dance for his senate seat.   I hope he gets the opportunity to retire really soon.

  • This is so typical.  What is the saying?  Do not attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity?  I guess that is why people prefer to use excuses that make them seem incompetent, as opposed to explanations that make them seem shrewd or cynical.  It’s the lesser of two evils.  Admitting that you voted for a failed stimulus because you supported it is apparently worse than claiming that you voted for it because you’re a gullible chump.

  • Trust Me, I’m A Journalist: Trust In The Media Promotes Health

    ScienceDaily (Jan. 26, 2009) — Trust in the media promotes health. A study of people from 29 Asian countries has shown that individuals with high levels of trust in the mass media tend to be healthier.

    For proper health, we should settle on one.

  • I gotta tell ya…..for a guy so derided as stupid, Bush found it massively easy to manipulate all of these Senators time and time again I guess.

    McCain is a true American hero, who served this country with great distinction. But he won’t be missed when he leaves the Senate.

  • There is a reason why the founders created a Democratic Republic.  Senators especially were tasked with not following the mob but reflecting on the issues and using their best judgment.   That’s one reason they serve six year terms.  That was weakened when states stopped choosing Senators and they were directly elected, but it’s still the case that we vote for people to represent us by analyzing issues we can’t, and not simply doing what the majority want.  That is why most Democratic theorists believe we distrust mob rule.   The system was on the brink of total collapse in September 2008.   They made mistakes in hurrying to pass the law.   But if they hadn’t acted, things would have gone far south very fast.  I don’t think people realize how close to a major global depression we were.

    • The system was on the brink of total collapse in September 2008.   They made mistakes in hurrying to pass the law.   But if they hadn’t acted, things would have gone far south very fast.  I don’t think people realize how close to a major global depression we were

      >>> How can I take this seriously when you’d have us use the EXACT same logic regarding climate change?  “The planet is on the brink! We have to act now! So what if mistakes are made!”

      The science isn’t still settled, is it Scott?

    • not simply doing what the majority want

      Yes, that must be why you kept pointing to the falling popularity of the Iraq War. Oh, wait…in that case you were trying to use popular opinion to explain why we should run away and leave the Iraqi people to be slaughtered by terrorists. But now that popular opinion is against what you want, it has become convenient to trash public opinion.
      Imagine that…Erb flip flops. Huh. I’ve never seen that before.

    •  

      …we vote for people to represent us by analyzing issues we can’t, and not simply doing what the majority want.

       
      Unfortunately, our Senators have not been doing this for quite some time as witnessed by the several thousand-plus page bills passed by this august body without anyone reading them nevermind understanding them properly.   Which leads us to the other point:

      They made mistakes in hurrying to pass the law.

      Paulson wanted, and received a $ 3/4T blank check with no strings.  Congress placed no necessary conditions on the bill to keep it narrowly focused on “troubled assets”.  Instead, they were too busy larding up the initial 3 page bill with over 400 pages of add-ins, carve-outs, provisions, earmarks, etc.  Add up all the added pages and it approximately equals the number of Reps. and Senators who voted for final passage.  That is just a co-inky-dink, I am sure.
      Indeed, the “mistakes” were a feature, not a bug of this very broken process.  How anyone could possibly hold that such an error-riddled legislative process would yield such a precise law to save us from “brink of total collapse in September 2008″ simply boggles the mind.  I put it to you that TARP achieved nothing insofar as saving us from the brink of anything with the possible exception of protecting the profits of Hank’s buddies at GS!

  • Man, Yosemite Sam keeps on demonstrating why the country dodged a bullet when it didn’t put him in the White House*… and why many conservatives / Republicans have good reason to, if not outright detest him, then at least look elsewhere for a party leader.

    McCain and RINO’s like him (Graham, the Maine Gals, Specter before he did the full Benedict Arnold, etc.) are the reasons why there’s a rift in the GOP these days, and why hardcore conservatives are pushing hard for something approaching a “litmus test” for candidates: we’ve learned from hard experience that an (R) behind a politician’s name is no indicator of whether he’ll be fiscally responsible or even loyal to his party.  McCain enjoyed the heady wine of his “maverick” title; now let him taste the bitter dregs.

    shark – … for a guy so derided as stupid, Bush found it massively easy to manipulate all of these Senators time and time again I guess.

    I know.  Weird, ain’t it?

    —-

    (*) Not that Yosemite woudn’t be better than what we’ve got, but that’s not saying much at all.

    • Hell, I could do better than what we got, probably better than McCain too.  Now THAT’S scary.

  • I would say the TARP’s worst results were:
    1. The hysteria required to pass the bill ASAP leaked big time into the public’s mind worsening the situation.
    2. Kept some companies from exiting the market who should have.
    But, really, was it that bad other than that? The money was paid back. It might have saved some bank runs, collapses, etc. (hard to run counter-factuals)
    The real mistake was letting Bear Stearns get saved, or barring that, coming up with a strict policy after that to not save companies. Then Lehman would have sold itself to somebody rather than waiting of Uncle Sugar.
    I am open to arguments as to why TARP was worse than I think it was.
    Also,  in defense of Bush/Obama, they are not financial experts. When you have all of the “financial experts” seem to agree on this stuff, I am not sure how easy it is to oppose them – maybe an analogy would be Cuban Missile Crisis generals demanding strikes, to be shut down by Kennedy.

    • The same hysteria for the Health Care Crisis, the same hysteria for Global Warming Crisis.  Let no good crisis go to waste, even if through the auspices of the media, we create said crisis so we can react to said crisis.  There are far too many of these sudden actions, the irony of the fact that these crisis situations can conveniently  wait for Congress to ‘do something’, and can wait for the President to approve of that something, and can wait for the agencies tasked with dealing with them to entrain the necessary measures to respond, etc, seems lost on the players and ignored by the public.  Like the word ‘racism’, the currency of the word ‘crisis’ has become highly devalued.

  • Supposedly it was the crisis that FedEx couldn’t meet payroll which scared them the most. Seriously, why do large companies need to borrow to meet payroll unless they have not retained enough earnings or their payments come in annually or something is beyond me. FedEx has a continuous revenue stream and is profitable, so what is their excuse?
    But since we have seen financial meltdowns occur before, its not exactly a false crisis. I think that the biggest lesson that needs to be learned is from Calvin Coolidge: sometimes just DO NOTHING is the best.

    • “… so what is their excuse?”

      The same excuse that the rest of the financial and corporate world has been using. All those geniuses with MBAs and no real experience have determined that it is better to borrow than to save. Using other people’s money is better than using your own.  Like  just-in-time ordering, it probably saves them a few dollars as long as things are going well. Andof course they are taught in those elite business schools that things will always go well in this, the best of all possible worlds.

      • “The best of all possible worlds”
        As Obama promised, it is now, I see the dust of the moon pony herd on the horizon!  Oh joy!
         
         
        eh….Interesting, I didn’t know they had spears….boy it should be exciting when the dust settles and we can seem them clearly in all their glory!