Doesn’t seem to be working out that way:
You know what they’re going to tell you, don’t you:
Despite widespread unease over the use of taxpayer money to salve Wall Street’s wounds, it also seems virtually certain that lawmakers will in coming months confront anew demands for even greater government activism. Critics say the new federal legislation just won’t do enough to resolve the banks’ chief problem: a crippling shortage of capital.
Already, prominent economists across the political spectrum are floating proposals that envision mammoth government spending beyond the $700 billion bailout. Among them: shuttering insolvent banks and providing taxpayer cash to those that can be saved; a temporary unlimited government guarantee of all bank deposits; or even direct financial aid to individual homeowners to ward off foreclosure.
“This act alone is not really going to resolve anything. Eventually, the government is going to have to do more,” says George Magnus, senior economic adviser to UBS in London.
Meanwhile: The $85 billion bailed-out AIG parties hearty.
Paulson’s monumental misjudgment is no surprise to those who have paid attention to him over the last year. This is the man who proclaimed the subprime crisis “largely contained” in April 2007; “near the bottom” in May 2007; and “largely contained” again in August 2007. This is the man who pledged that he had “no interest in bailing out lenders or property speculators” in October 2007 and couldn’t “think of any situation where the backdrop of the global economy was as healthy as it is today.”
This is the man who patted himself on the back for refusing to “put taxpayer money on the line” to rescue Lehman Brothers on Sept. 15 – and then turned around the next day and engineered the $85 billion taxpayer-funded bailout of AIG. This is the man who vowed he had “no plans to insert money” into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac –and then turned around and committed $200 billion in capital and credit lines to those corrupt, bloated, crumbling institutions.
This is the man who declared “the worst is likely to be behind us” in May 2008 – and then got down on his knees in front of Nancy Pelosi to pass a Mother of All Bailouts plan whose dollar figure was plucked from thin air. (“It’s not based on any particular data point,” a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com. “We just wanted to choose a really large number.”)
This is a man, in other words, whose crap sandwich should be taken with a huge grain of salt.
Too late now, feckless Congress.
Taste the Crap Sandwich.