"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Big Money

I have a lot of thoughts about this big bailout plan that's been unveiled. My interest is hopelessly nerdy and political, but what we're seeing right now is totally, like, crazy.

  • First of all, $700B?!?!? For a sense of scale, that's more than the Iraq war has cost to date (though Iraq will cost much more over time in terms of support for wounded, replacing equipment, etc). It's also about $2,000 for every man, woman and child in the country.
  • Secondly, the treasury secretary gets to do whatever the fuck he wants with it: "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency." Bold.
  • Gotta love capitalism.

The most interesting thing here to me is how this jives with what I recall from Polyani's The Great Transformation. What this appears to be is a move to protect people from the market, except that unlike in the past when those being protected were workers or families or the like, the entities being protected here are banks themselves.

Further, while there's clearly a huge amount of elites looking out for themselves here, the really striking thing is that the moral justification here is that if the whole shitpile were allowed to tumble, the impact on regular folks would be really bad. So you're going to see people making the argument shortly (if they're not already) that we're protecting the finance sector from the workings of the market in order to maintain the current standard of living for regular citizens.

Fucking crazy.


There's an old saying that "whoever controls the checkbook controls the family".

In the case of the us government and the american "family" that same control is about to be handed over to Henry Paulson.. hook, line and big-time sinker.. with the blessings of congress and both candidates. Into that proposal the courts of the country, who are constitutionally authorized to decide the constitutional legality of completely ceding this power and all future actions taken by Paulson will not be allowed to judge the legality of any future action the Secretary decides upon.

Paulson will soon get to decide all things financial, Constitution be damned and we will all happily applaud what a wonderful thing he has done.. at least for a little while until we begin to see that maybe having one man in charge of our finances was perhaps not such a good idea after all.

The sky is blue, the sun is shining, kids noisily playing in the playgrounds... and a coup is happening right in front of us.

For those of you in the markets I suggest you stay in close touch with the billcara.com blog.
Your financial health may depend upon it.