Straight Story: Taking the long view

Economics editor Chris Farrell

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Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.
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Contrary to Mr. Moorman's comment, I must say that my faith in the political leadership of the United States is at an all time LOW. Had these people been doing their jobs day in and day out, had they understood the meaning of the words "duty" and "responsibility," we would NOT need the massive bailout package passed by Congress.

Even now many of us wonder why Henry Paulson, former CEO of Goldman Sachs and thus a very highly paid CEO, was ever selected as Secretary of the Treasury. Moreover, we wonder if it is true that AIG owes Goldman Sachs about $20,000, 000,000 and this fact makes "AIG too big to fail." If AIG is indeed too big to fail, it should be nationalized rather than "bailed out" by U.S. taxpayers.

No, all of these emergency actions on the part of our politicians indicate that they have spent most of their time looking out for number one rather than being public servants.

Contrary to your assertion of loss of faith in political leadership, mine has been strengthened by the passage of the economic recovery act. True, individual legislators on the right and left acted disappointingly in narrow self interest. But the party leadership rose to the occasion, put themselves on the line, and made the case (eventually) for statesmanlike behavior by all. Especially in the face of a selfish and uninformed public and on an issue where the benefits were to avoid disaster rather than to produce some tangible good, this legislation was a great victory. The case has been made not only that government is needed to correct for excesses or failure of the marketplace, but also that when called on in a crisis, government can respond effectively. If anyone neds to be looking in a mirror, it's all those residents of Main Street who thought they could live on borrowed funds and profit handsomely from a flush economy without saving, fiscal discipline, or understanding of or interest in the workings of their economy.

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