Written Monday, September 29th, 2008: 6:30 a.m..
What happened in Congress last Friday – House Republicans refusing to go along with the government’s rescue plan – was caused by political/economic ideology combined with Americans not wanting to bail out Wall Street. With the men and women on Main Street contacting their representatives en masse to protest any plan at all to bail out Wall Street, some Republicans decided they were willing to test the thesis that not going along with the government’s plan risked Armageddon for the whole American financial system. Conservative capitalistic ideology says the best and only way to handle economic crises is to let the free marketplace work, meaning let those individuals and corporations who’ve made bad decisions fail. Famed investor Jim Rogers, who’s consistently said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsen have been following the wrong road during this crisis, must have been pleased. Rogers also feels the best path is to let underwater financial concerns go bankrupt. He says bankruptcies have happened before, will again, and serve a purpose. They effectively clean out the distortions and excesses built up in the economic system so in the future we can start over and move ahead on a strong foundation. Not doing so would set up the same situation here in the US that caused Japan’s “lost decade” of the 1990s whereby the Japanese government let failed banks keep operating. Bailing out and keeping zombie-like banks alive here as well would just slow dramatically or even block America’s economic recovery. Bottom line, with terrific public opposition – calls coming in 100 to 1 against bailing out Wall Street -- late last week some conservatives decided to risk taking the whole country down and into the economic abyss and see what happens. They backtracked a bit over the weekend, giving in to the mantra that “we had to have a deal before the Asian markets opened.” Schwartz View: Boy, do I have mixed feelings! Invading Iraq because of itsreported stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, proved that acting out of fear can be wrong. Thus when the government forecasts disaster ahead today unless we follow their rescue plan, it feels like they are crying wolf again. Plus I fervently believe we do need to “clean out the system” and show Wall Street we’ve stopped socializing their losses. On the other hand, common sense tells me at all costs we should avoid any economic meltdown which could morph into another 1930s-style depression. Finally I believe in letting the marketplace operate as freely as possible and I agree with the man on street that rich players who’ve gamed the system for so long should share the economic pain the rest of America has been feeling for many depressing years now. Making matters even worse and even more complicated is the absolute horrendous timing of this crisis. Our politicians wanted to recess and get out of Washington, DC last Friday to go campaign in their districts and certainly didn’t want to have to be forced into voting YES on any detested bailout plan. Now they all will have to explain to voters how “we’ll all sink or swim together.”
09-29-2008 8:37 AM
Filed under: Principles of the Stock Market, Richard Schwartz, Seasonal View, US Economy, Socialism, Politics, Global Investing, The Fed, Portfolio Strategy, Historical Perspectve, Perspective, Federal Reserve, Jim Rogers, The Principle of History, Government Intervention, The Big Picture, Recession, Stock Market Lessons, Globalization, Financial Crisis, Economic Common Sense, Spin, History, Stock Market, US Presidential Election, Capitalism, Ben Bernanke, Congress, Big Picture, Henry Paulson, Credit Crisis, Sell in May & Go Away, The Principle of Crowd Psychology, Bear Markets, America, Culture, Government, Business, US Housing Crisis, Real Economy