I have a significant problem with the Treasury bailout of the financial system’s toxic assets announced Monday by Treasury Secretary Geitner. The problem is that the stock market went up almost 500 points on the Dow and is now up 21% in a couple of weeks. What’s the danger, you ask? Good question. The public is going to believe that the solution to the stock market decline was the government. They are going to believe that the Treasury rode in on a white horse, swooped up the damsel in distress and saved her from the fire breathing dragon.
While I admit that the imagery of Barney Frank as a fire-breathing dragon has a certain attraction, the notion that the government is Sir Lancelot is disturbing. Make no mistake; the market recovered because it was cheap. When the investment world figures out that they have made 21% in two weeks, it will come down. It may even start today.
The danger is that somehow we have come to believe that Congressional politicians are capable of managing this economy. I would like to ask some questions. What qualifies Barney Frank, Chuck Grassley, Nancy Pelosi, Chris Dodd, or President Obama for that matter to manage the United States economy? I am not aware of any particular experience or distinction or even academic credentials that would suggest that these people know how to do anything other than spend money in order to look like saving grace to their constituency. While that does not make them bad people; it also doesn’t make them qualified.
So, why do we entrust them with this kind of authority. Turn on the television. Do you see that it is Barney Frank chairing the House Banking Committee asking questions of Fed Chairman Bernanke? Did you not see Maxine Walters embarrassing herself trying to rake the bank CEO’s over the coals over tax issues that she herself helped to pass? Why do we subject Tim Geitner and Ben Bernanke to the inane suppositions of Congressional House members whose only economic credential is time in grade? Make no mistake; those plum committee assignments come from the party in power passed down to the most senior members (read long serving here). It has nothing whatsoever to do with experience.
I am reminded of the great line by Jackie Mason, the comedian who, when describing Congresses’ inability to balance the budget of the country, said that if we want to balance the budget, we ought to put Congress on commission. I couldn’t agree more. Do you think we would have a 2.8 trillion dollar deficit if that were the case? I do not.
All of the grandstanding disgusts me, and I think serves no actual purpose. What is wrong with this idea? How about we pre-qualify candidates for Congressional committees the same way that we grill cabinet members? Gee, what a novel idea. You think Congress will go for that? Just once I would love to hear the following question of a potential committee member; “Congressman, what qualifies you to sit on this committee?”
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