Note: All of President Bush’s quotations are from his address to the Nation on 9/24/08
President Bush: “Over the past few weeks, many Americans have felt anxiety about their finances and their future. I understand their worry and their frustration.”
Barry: President Bush, while it is true that you don’t have to walk in someone’s shoes to feel their intensity of emotion, no one believes that you understand. Last night you were simply repeating words that you read on a teleprompter.
President Bush: “My administration is working with Congress to address the root cause behind much of the instability in our markets.”
Barry: You and Congress are doing nothing about the real root causes. In fact, you are not even talking about them. The root causes include the Fed’s reckless credit expansion, fractional reserve banking, reckless Congressional spending, and the “something for nothing” attitude that pervades America.
President Bush: “This rescue effort is not aimed at preserving any individual company or industry. It is aimed at preserving America’s overall economy.”
Barry: This is absurd on the face of it. Money will be given to specific corporations and financial institutions and not given to others. It will throw good money after bad and will help to further destroy the economy.
President Bush: “For more than a decade, a massive amount of money flowed into the United States from investors abroad because our country is an attractive and secure place to do business. This large influx of money to U.S. banks and financial institutions, along with low interest rates, made it easier for Americans to get credit.”
Barry: Yes, let’s blame foreigners and ignore the role of the Fed in recklessly pursuing a policy of extreme credit expansion.
President Bush: “Easy credit, combined with the faulty assumption that home values would continue to rise, led to excesses and bad decisions.”
Barry: Only a charlatan or someone whose good sense had left them during the housing mania, would have believed that home values would continue to rise forever. Yes, there are many charlatans and among them are the very people that you are relying on to solve the crisis.
President Bush: “Investment banks, such as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, found themselves saddled with large amounts of assets they could not sell. They ran out of money needed to meet their immediate obligations, and they faced imminent collapse.”
Barry: They are not victims; they made terrible business decisions over and over again. In the process, they enriched themselves. Now, they and others who did the same should bear the consequences.
President Bush: “I’m a strong believer in free enterprise, so my natural instinct is to oppose government intervention. I believe companies that make bad decisions should be allowed to go out of business.
Barry: Nothing you have done during your eight years as President would demonstrate that there is one iota of truth in that statement.
President Bush: “I also understand the frustration of responsible Americans who pay their mortgages on time, file their tax returns every April 15th, and are reluctant to pay the cost of excesses on Wall Street. But given the situation we are facing, not passing a bill now would cost these Americans much more later.”
Barry: The opposite is the truth. There are terrible times ahead, and the bailout of Wall Street will only increase the severity of our suffering.
President Bush: “Any rescue plan… should make certain that failed executives do not receive a windfall from your tax dollars.”
Barry: This is impossible. These executives have already collectively earned billions, and our tax dollars will cement their ill-gotten gains.
President Bush: “The government is the one institution with the patience and resources to buy these assets at their current low prices and hold them until markets return to normal. And when that happens, money will flow back to the Treasury as these assets are sold, and we expect that much, if not all, of the tax dollars we invest will be paid back.”
Barry: Again, this is absurd. If these assets were good buys, free-market institutions would be snapping them up. Wall Street will unload the biggest dogs in their portfolio to the taxpayer.
President Bush: “Despite corrections in the marketplace and instances of abuse, democratic capitalism is the best system ever devised. It has unleashed the talents and the productivity and entrepreneurial spirit of our citizens. It has made this country the best place in the world to invest and do business. And it gives our economy the flexibility and resilience to absorb shocks, adjust, and bounce back.”
Barry: I have no idea what you mean by “democratic capitalism”? Does that mean that some are free to steal the money of others under the cover of a Congressional vote? In any case, what you and Congress are doing will ensure that America does not bounce back for many years.