Bailout Bait & Switch

Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson, with the buy-in of President George W. Bush (R) and the Democratic congressional leadership, foisted a 700 billion dollar bailout on the American people and pushed it through with a narrow, bipartisan win in Congress. Paulson told Congress and the American people that he needed all that money primarily to buy ‘troubled’ mortgages off lenders’ books, which is what Congress stupidly voted on and approved.

Now we find out that Paulson, emboldened with more power than any Treasury Secretary has ever had in the history of the United States, is going to use that money to do something else entirely. Instead of buying up ‘troubled’ mortgages and bad debt, he’ll be buying even more stakes in U.S. banks. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a classic ‘bait & switch’. The swindlers get buy-in with fancy, nice-sounding talk and then, after you’re committed, the rules change.

Meanwhile, we find out that the oversight committees mandated by the bill to protect the taxpayers’ investments have nobody on them. Yes, the U.S. government is nationalizing industries, blithely overstepping Constitutional limitation of its power, intervening in our economy in ways it has never done before, and nobody is policing what is happening.

Last time the government intruded in our economy on this scale—Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ spending programs and economic interventionism—it turned a moderately serious recession into an unprecedented decade-long depression that was only broken by our entering World War II. That’s not a road we should be walking down again.

Most laughably, President Bush—this bailout’s biggest cheerleader and, sadly, the only person who has the immediate legal authority to stop Paulson’s power trip in its tracks—is warning foreign leaders against the very interventionism he solidly supports at home. “History has shown that the greater threat to economic prosperity is not too little government involvement in the market, but too much,” says Bush, while his own administration engages in the unconstitutional partial nationalization of private businesses.

What country is this again?

Scott Bradford has been putting his opinions on his website since 1995—before most people knew what a website was. He has been a professional web developer in the public- and private-sector for over twenty years. He is an independent constitutional conservative who believes in human rights and limited government, and a Catholic Christian whose beliefs are summarized in the Nicene Creed. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University. He loves Pink Floyd and can play the bass guitar . . . sort-of. He’s a husband, pet lover, amateur radio operator, and classic AMC/Jeep enthusiast.