Eugene Robinson – A Bailout or a Bonanza? – washingtonpost.com
The uber-capitalists of Wall Street are all socialists now. Free- market ideology, it turns out, doesnt pay the mortgage. That appears to be a job for, ahem, Big Government.
Lets be clear about why were facing a crisis that could pull down the global financial system. The irresponsibility of individuals who bought houses they couldnt quite afford pales in comparison with the irresponsibility of the financial wizards who built on those shaky mortgages a towering edifice of irrational faith. Someone in the government should have looked at all those trillions of dollars worth of mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps and demanded that Wall Street prove that all, or even most, of this purported money was real. But were in the eighth year of the Bush administration; adult supervision left the building long ago.
Now that the whole highly leveraged structure is threatening to fall, some kind of government bailout is necessary and inevitable. But Congress shouldnt approve Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsons $700 billion rescue plan without insisting on some measure of equity and accountability.