Today’s Quote

March 18, 2008

E.J. Dionne on the big Wall Street bailout:

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?

The prints are full of heartending tales of hotshots mourning the lost value of their portfolios, and the likelihood that they will have to put their vacation homes on the market. As Atrios asks, why don’t the papers run these kinds of weepies when an auto factory or some other major employer closes shop?  

2 Responses to “Today’s Quote”

  1. Ron Fischer Says:

    …and always bear in mind that its our taxes which area bailing out these companies. There are reasonable arguments for bailing out companies to avoid a “run on the banking firms”, in which millions of “little guys” would lose their shirts. But still: what price will these CEOs and Presidents pay for their folly? None will go to jail, rest assured.

  2. geoff Says:

    The U.S. has long had socialism for the rich, and free markets for everyone else. Look at the Mexican “bailout” during Clinton’s years. All that taxpayer money was described as rescuing Mexico’s currency in the mass media, when in reality the money was paying back Wall Street investors who lost their shirts speculating in the peso.

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