E.J. Dionne finally says what I’ve been thinking almost 24/7 since late last week:
Never do I want to hear again from my conservative friends about how brilliant capitalists are, how much they deserve their seven-figure salaries and how government should keep its hands off the private economy.
The Wall Street titans have turned into a bunch of welfare clients. They are desperate to be bailed out by government from their own incompetence, and from the deregulatory regime for which they lobbied so hard. They have lost “confidence” in each other, you see, because none of these oh-so-wise captains of the universe have any idea what kinds of devalued securities sit in one another’s portfolios.
So they have stopped investing. The biggest, most respected investment firms threaten to come crashing down. You can’t have that. It’s just fine to make it harder for the average Joe to file for bankruptcy, as did that wretched bankruptcy bill passed by Congress in 2005 at the request of the credit card industry. But the big guys are “too big to fail,” because they could bring us all down with them.
Enter the federal government, the institution to which the wealthy are not supposed to pay capital gains or inheritance taxes. Good God, you don’t expect these people to trade in their BMWs for Saturns, do you?
Now I should say I am a “free market” capitalist kind of guy. I think the government ought to keep their hands off businesses as much as possible. Especially small business (like a lot lower tax rate) so they have the ability to grow and prosper into maybe the next Google or Microsoft.
But by “hands off” I mean in both good times and bad times. You just shouldn’t be able to have it both ways ….. unless of course you are a Wall Street financial institution.