John McCain: Let’s do to Health Care All the Great Things We Have Done to Banking

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mccain cow twn.jpg
Uh-oh. John McCain thought that the deregulation of the banking sector was awesome before he thought it wasn’t awesome.
His enthusiasm for the success of financial market deregulation was captured by Paul Krugman in a note about McCain’s intentions to apply the same approach to the health care market.
Krugman writes:

Here’s what McCain has to say about the wonders of market-based health reform:

Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.

So McCain, who now poses as the scourge of Wall Street, was praising financial deregulation like 10 seconds ago — and promising that if we marketize health care, it will perform as well as the financial industry!

But maybe McCain is against his former position by now. . .it’s that old Senator McCain vs. candidate McCain problem again.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

34 comments on “John McCain: Let’s do to Health Care All the Great Things We Have Done to Banking

  1. Kathleen says:

    Soooo, the cure for the ills of insufficient oversight, is no oversight at alll…my despair at the moment is that I know Democraps simply will not hang tough on oversight and regulation…just like they folded on everything, including warrantless domestic spying…
    I don’t understand why Congress doesn’t consider raising the standard deduction to a livable income, index it to the cost of living, and make it retro-active for 2007…Americans will then get a sizable refund which they could use to get out of foreclosure, or other debt… if mortgages were paid, banks would be liquid again… at the same time, I think lending institutions should be required to lower the interest rates they are charging, to their initial “teaser rate”, to help people keep their homes and stabilize the housing market….those taxpayers who were responsible with their debt management can benefit by not having to bail out everybody else….

    Reply

  2. Carroll says:

    To repeat what rich pointed out:
    “”Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and MAY NOT BE REVIEWED BY ANY COURT OF LAW OR ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY.’
    That is all you need to know and I will be very surprised if the dems don’t go along with it, they always go along because they too haven’t done their job and only react instead of acting.
    Do you understand the game?
    We must save the elite criminal and the WS unethical in order to save the janitors job, the janitors house and so on…how many times has the public fallen for this game.
    Paulson has already stated that he is not in favor of withholding golden payouts to the CEO’s of these institutions. Which prompts me to ask what he is is going to be paying them for their junk debt with taxpayers money. A $100,00 for a note that is in reality worth only $50,00 or now nothing?
    And none of it is going to be reviewed or overseen by..’BY ANY COURT OF LAW OR ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY.’ ?
    Plezze…spare me the spin accompying the game this time. As of Thursday Americans had already lost 30% of their net worth in the stock market, even if they wern’t in financials.

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  3. Linda says:

    Obama campaign should be all over FL and everywhere in order to pick off older voters on Social Security privatization—and McCain should challenged over and over by Obama campaign to be clear what McCain’s position is.
    Biggest problem with Obama campaign is that it is still too reactive, mainly to negative ads by McCain, when it should be simply and clearly proactive on an issue like this. Bush couldn’t sell it to public—and if it had been sold, it would have hurt people. And don’t let McCain get away with saying that it will be OK after the economy is again stable and get away with that either. Pin him down and make him stick with the position or chnage it.

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  4. Bill R. says:

    “Is he STILL in favor of So Sec privatization?”
    Yes, only he is trying to call it something else. Opting out of the social insurance system of Social Security for private accounts = Privatization!
    He’s gone to the GWB school of marketing… call it “private accounts” but don’t call it “privatization.”

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  5. questions says:

    HARWOOD: If this goes through, and it looks like it will, the next president–could be you–is going to have obligations of $700 billion, maybe a trillion dollars, that you hadn’t planned on when you were formulating an agenda for–to run for president in the last two years. I asked Senator Obama this morning whether he would alter any of his tax or spending plans in response, he said no. What is your position–is there anything that you would alter in response to this huge, unexpected event, either in terms of changing your plans for tax cuts, for fiscal reasons, or changing your plans for private accounts on Social Security?
    Sen. McCAIN: Well, let me answer your second question first. I’ve said, if someone voluntarily wants to invest their money that–their tax dollars, that’s their own–that they should be able to–allowed to do that if they want to do that. If a young worker wants to. That’s being portrayed as some kind of privatization. I mean, that’s just outright distortion. And I still believe that young Americans ought to have, if they seek to, to be able to, in a voluntary fashion, to give–put some of their money into accounts with their name on it. And obviously that would be very restricted and have a lot of parameters associated with it.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/21/us/politics/21text-mccain.html?pagewanted=2
    Is he STILL in favor of So Sec privatization???

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  6. Benjamin Spector says:

    I almost didn’t recognize him, but that’s Phil Gramm next to McCain in the picture. The McCain camp this week did not rule Gramm out as the next Treasury Secretary in the McCain Presidency.

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  7. questions says:

    MarkL,
    My layman’s understanding is likely where yours is. I’m not an economist. But I’d guess that student loans are a fairly small sum compared to residential and commercial real estate loans. Commercial loans are generally better monitored, but given the retail contraction and the white collar/office contraction, we likely have problems there. Sub-prime mortgages and underperforming prime mortgages are the nightmare near as I can tell. And it all spirals down because defaults lower property values which then increases defaults….
    I don’t know how much money is tied up in guaranteed student loans compared to commercial loans, nor do I know a whole lot about Sallie Mae.
    Credit card defaults could be a problem too….

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  8. MarkL says:

    Questions,
    It’s not just about housing markets, is it?
    I read that the whole student loan market is also set to crash.
    My layman’s understanding is that the loosely regulated trade of debts has removed the incentive of first lenders to do adequate credit checks, and this problem exists throughout the financial industry.

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  9. questions says:

    One question I personally have is the following: If the whole crunch is based on bad mortgages, and bad mortgages are based on overvalued housing prices, and housing prices are overvalued because many people can’t really afford houses without “exotic” mortages, then don’t housing prices simply HAVE to fall significantly?
    (And yet, people will struggle endlessly to get into pricey houses where there are good schools and little crime and pollution…. Here is a big issue that hasn’t been addressed yet — why the supply of decent housing –and especially places in good schools– is so limited.)
    If we prop up housing prices to save the credit market, don’t we merely prolong the misery? If we help people refinance, then are we still propping up an untenable market? Do some people just have to lose out until this “correction” gets housing prices more in line with income? And if unemployment ticks up a bit more, are we not going to have yet another round of this?
    If we do help people stay in their homes, it has to be done by significantly lowering home prices and therefore payments. That, in turn, lowers property values in the area for those who are still managing. And then those people end up with negative equity…. The structural mess is impressive in its depth and breadth. One group of citizens is set against another, no matter who gets bailed out.
    I’m not sure I see the end to this, from my very limited vantage point. But I’m not sure just having free credit everywhere is the answer, so maybe just bailing out a bunch of banks is bullshit.

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  10. questions says:

    There is way too much detail to copy paste all of it, but this posting has all osrts of useful info on the bail out:
    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/9/21/11359/7555/652/605498
    AN EXCERPT OF THE VERY LONG LINK-LACED POST BELOW:
    Even right-wing economist Harvard Prof. Greg Mankiw is aghast:
    A Blank Check
    A friend emails me a link to the proposed bailout legislation and asks,
    Has more money ever been given with fewer restrictions on how it is used? Ever?
    Update: Naked Capitalism’s analysis of the plan is well worth reading.
    And here is the aforementioned analysis by Naked Capitalism. If you truly want to understand Paulson’s Wall Street bailout plan, this is the gold standard. That the taxpayer gets cleaned out isn’t a bug, but a feature of the plan, and Paulson has admitted so behind closed doors:
    ….
    The increase of the request from the initial $500 billion and the release of the shockingly short, sweeping text of the proposed legislation has lead to reactions of consternation among the knowledgeable, but whether this translates into enough popular ire fast enough to restrain this freight train remains to be seen.
    First, …. here is the truly offensive section of an overreaching piece of legislation:
    Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.
    This puts the Treasury’s actions beyond the rule of law. This is a financial coup d’etat, …. Given the truly appalling track record of this Administration in its outsourcing, this is not an idle worry.
    ….
    Nouriel Roubini does not think it passes the smell test:
    `He’s asking for a huge amount of power,” said Nouriel Roubini, an economist at New York University. “He’s saying, `Trust me, I’m going to do it right if you give me absolute control.’ This is not a monarchy.”
    ….
    Now to the substance. The Treasury has been using the formula that it will buy assets at “fair market prices”. . ….
    Yet as we discussed, the plan makes no sense unless the Orwellian “fair market prices” means “above market prices.” The point is not to free up illiquid assets. Illiquid assets (private equity, even the now derided CDOs were never intended to be traded, but pose no problem if they do not need to be marked at a large loss and/or the institution is not at risk of a run). Confirmation of our view came from a reader by e-mail:
    I worked at [Wall Street firm you’ve heard of], but now I handle financial services for [a Congressman], and I was on the conference call that Paulson, Bernanke and the House Democratic Leadership held for all the members yesterday afternoon. It’s supposed to be members only, but there’s no way to enforce that if it’s a conference call, and you may have already heard from other staff who were listening in.
    Anyway, I wanted to let you know that, behind closed doors, Paulson describes the plan differently. He explicitly says that it will buy assets at above market prices (although he still claims that they are undervalued) because the holders won’t sell at market prices. Anna Eshoo pressed him on how the government can compel the holders to sell, and he basically dodged the question. I think that’s because he didn’t want to admit that the government would just keep offering more and more.
    …. this program is going to swing into action with the clear but not honestly disclosed intent of buying assets at above market prices when future markets and the analysts with the best track records on forecasting this decline (you can add Robert Shiller, CR at Calculated Risk, and Nouriel Roubini to the list) believe it has considerably further to fall.

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  11. MarkL says:

    Obviously McCain is horrible on these issues, but is Obama so trustworthy?
    From http://cannonfire.blogspot.com/2008/09/mccain-or-obama-who-is-responsible.html
    “McCain or Obama — who bears responsibility for the crisis?
    John McCain on the Senate floor, May 25, 2006:
    Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae’s regulator reported that the company’s quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were “illusions deliberately and systematically created” by the company’s senior management, which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal.
    The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.”
    Compared to:
    “Until recently, Raines was an Obama adviser — although Obama now pretends otherwise. Back to McCain:
    — The OFHEO report also states that Fannie Mae used its political power to lobby Congress in an effort to interfere with the regulator’s examination of the company’s accounting problems. This report comes some weeks after Freddie Mac paid a record $3.8 million fine in a settlement with the Federal Election Commission and restated lobbying disclosure reports from 2004 to 2005. These are entities that have demonstrated over and over again that they are deeply in need of reform.
    For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs–and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO’s report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO’s report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.
    I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.

    Reply

  12. questions says:

    “In practice this means the government would make subjective choices about which bad loans to buy, and it would pay more than fair value. Billions in taxpayer money would be transferred to the shareholders and creditors of banks, and the banks from which the government bought most loans would be subsidized more than their rivals. If the government bought the most from the sickest institutions, it would be slowing the healthy process in which strong players buy up the weak, delaying an eventual recovery. The haggling over which banks got to unload the most would drag on for months. So the hope that this “systematic” plan can be a near-term substitute for ad hoc AIG-style bailouts is illusory.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/20/AR2008092001059.html?hpid=opinionsbox1
    There are dissenting voices in the mainstream media, and at that bastion of elitism, the U of C. Let’s let some of the dissent work its way through the decision-making process. The Senate is supposed to be a deliberative body, the House should have some expertise, the CBO needs to do the math. Slow down and make good decisions this time around and maybe we can avoid what happened w/ Iraq — done too quickly and without dissent or thought.

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  13. Mr.Murder says:

    Her plan to pitch it to HMO was an effort to draw regional traction for a plan that would eventually broaden.
    Face it, the Frist portfolio was greatly set against losing its sense of autonomy and control in terms of market share.
    Major money opposed it.

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  14. easy e says:

    Off-topic, but it needs to be posted since this is what was really at the root of McCain’s Zapatero flop the other day. As all eyes today are on the economy and the Middle East, it’s quite obvious that U.S. mischief and meddling is well underway in Latin America. The Empire never rests.
    THREAT TO DEMOCRACY IN LATIN AMERICA
    The Guardian, Saturday September 20 2008
    On September 10 President Evo Morales of Bolivia declared the US ambassador persona non grata. On September 11 (the 35th anniversary of the military overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile) the president of Venezuela asked the US ambassador there to leave the country. President Hugo Chávez believed he was facing the possibility of an imminent coup d’etat in which he said the US administration were involved. President Morales believed that his government was facing serious destabilisation which was also being fomented by the US. A third country, Paraguay, announced 10 days previously that it had detected a conspiracy involving military officers and opposition politicians.
    Latin America now faces its most serious crisis since the reintroduction of democracy at the end of the 20th century. The plot against democracy in Venezuela centred on a conspiracy, revealed in telephone conversations between senior military officers broadcast on national television, to assassinate the democratically elected head of state. In Bolivia, the separatist prefects of the five eastern and southern departments have begun a campaign of violence and economic sabotage designed to destabilise the democratic regime.
    These events show unequivocally who defends democracy and who threatens it today. We are appalled by the failure of much of the international media to provide accurate and proportionate coverage of these events. All democrats throughout should rally to defend democracy in Latin America.
    Harold Pinter, John Pilger, Tony Benn, Ken Loach, Jean Lambert MEP, Ian Gibson MP, Kelvin Hopkins MP, Billy Hayes, General secretary, CWU, Bill Greenshields, President, NUT, and 23 others
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/20/bolivia

    Reply

  15. Linda says:

    Mr. Murder,
    I speak only for myself and having worked in health care and have not been for either Clinton (except to hold my nose and vote a second time for Bill in 1996) because they hadly blew the one chance for health care reform in 1993-94. There are, however, many in health care community who agree with me.
    It was sheer folly and inexperience to put Hillary, as First Lady, and Ira Magaziner in charge of health care reform. Neither one had any background or knowledge of the field.
    They then developed the plan behind closed doors leaving out most of the health care community, BTW, with HMOs highly represented, did not even consider single-payer, and came up with a plan so complex that most people couldn’t understand it.
    And after all her greater knowledge and experience, her plan in 2008 still was not single-payer. Neither is Obama’s. They both are better than McCain’s, but now there is very little chance of getting health care reform at all.
    So Senator Dsachle’s wife or all the relatives of members of Congress or former members of Congress who lobby (and probably should not) is pretty much irrelevant.

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  16. via says:

    John McCain is moose-ish on America.

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  17. Mr.Murder says:

    When Hillary tried to get Universal Health Care going people like Sen.Daschle(Obama campaign man) did their best to stop it. His wife is one of the largest lobbyists in the world.
    Don’t act like one side has been all for something, neither has.

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  18. Tosk says:

    Steve,
    Terribly dishonest post. I’m no McCain fan and disagree with many/most of his positions, but if you read the article that McCain wrote you will see that in the small piece that Krugman excerpted (see below) McCain’s parallel and what he is referring to is when interstate restrictions on banks were removed, allowing them to operate nationally. AFAIK no one (Democrats, Krugman, etc.) have said that it was a bad thing to do and I haven’t heard any of them arguing that we should roll back those changes. McCain is proposing to do the same for health insurance companies.
    OK, so if Krugman thinks that is a bad idea he should say why e.g. it won’t produce the cost reduction McCain hopes for, etc., etc. Instead he plucks out that line and gives his readers the impression that McCain is saying we should “fix” healthcare like we did banking, and (given the current financial crisis) look where that got us. In addition he and you conflate “heath care insurance” and “health care’ and banking with investment banking and the larger financial markets…
    This kind of dishonesty from Krugman is not unexpected, but I have always expected more from this blog. However, you have simply picked up his meme and parroted it… This post is shoddy at best, dishonest at worst.
    Tosk
    “I would also allow individuals to choose to purchase health insurance across state lines, when they can find more affordable and attractive products elsewhere that they prefer. Opening upthe health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by
    the worst excesses of state-based regulation. Consumer-friendly insurance policies will be more available and affordable when there is greater competition among insurers on a level playing
    field. You should be able to buy your insurance from any willing provider—the state bureaucracies are no better than national ones. Nationwide insurance markets that ensure broad and vigorous
    competition will wring out excess costs,overhead, and bloated executive compensation.”

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  19. questions says:

    I’d guess (or at least, I hope)the CBO will weigh in on this and there is possibly enough territorialism that Congress might stand tall. Maybe we should have a CBO-like office for all possible crises. It would be worth the cost. Congress didn’t stand up re Iraq because the admin had a monopoly on information. But on budget/econ stuff, Congress does have it’s own office. Here’s hoping!

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  20. Linda says:

    Don’t panic quite yet as I don’t think Congress will buy into giving Secretary of the Treasury that much power without review/oversight. At least I’ll wait to hear what Barney Frank and Chris Dodd say about the proposed bill.
    The Administration’s bill probably will be modified in the next week or two before it is passed. So I’m waiting to see what experts think of the bill too.
    I remind people that market crash was in fall 1929 late in first year Hoover was in office, and he did all the wrong things and not much of anything for the rest of his term. And in the first couple years of FDR’s administration it was mostly the banking and financial sector that got fixed. Most of the programs to help people came later.
    The first priority has to be restoring confidence in the markets and financial system to avoid a big crash. The timing of this four months before a new Administration is bad but probably better than having it 1/21/09. Everybody now knows it happened in Bush Administration. Bernanke is Chairman of the Fed until 2010 no matter who is President, and he’s better than Greenspan.
    Summers, Rubin, and O’Neill all played a role in deregulation. And quite frankly, no economist or business expert and no one really knows the depth of this problem. So they have to quickly do something and can’t just stand there, or it will be a repeat of 1929-1933.
    Of course, it sucks, but that’s also reality.
    The pain and really big tax increases will come in next few years with a long and deep recession at best and inflation because we are selling bonds, i.e., printing money, to pay for this. That’s the most regressive tax of all, and our children and grandchildren will pay most of it.

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  21. Mr.Murder says:

    *(sales taxes)have happened to increase

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  22. Mr.Murder says:

    Wem pay higher taxes because of Bush policy.
    Gas is more expensive than ever.
    That’s the most regressive tax of all.
    Wages have downward pressure upon them.
    State and local taxes have increased due to unmet obligations by federal revenue.
    The most regressive taxes(sales) have happened.
    The raise in property taxes to make up for unfunded Federal mandates has spiraled rent prices into negative territory, a serious challenge to consumer purchasing power.
    Less is not more.
    Geore W. Math Failure needs some remedial schooling.

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  23. DonS says:

    POA says, “He has just placed the Secretary of the Treasury above and beyond the reach of the law. In effect, this means that NOTHING is exempt from nationalization or confiscation, if it can be done under the guise of economic reform or rescue. ”
    I think it is a bit less dramatic and yet more venal than that, i.e., Bush says the bailout package is non-negotiable. We’re giving it to Wall Street, no questions asked; no “if, ands, or buts”.
    Now what do you think Main Street, or more to the point, Obama, might think about that? Want to make an election splash? Just say “no”.
    Seems like Bush has thrown down the gauntlet, in the ultimate Rovian election challenge. “Let’s make the economy the issue”? Only in this case, a [continued] free hand on Wall Street is the surrogate for the economy.
    I think Steve needs a punchy new thread highlighting this chicanery.

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  24. karenk says:

    A market based economy for health care would be a disaster. McCain doesn’t want health care in govt hands but rather in the hands of big business, which is not working now.(gee did my doctor just give me levaquin cause its the best antibiotic for my condition or cause the pfizer rep brings a fancy lunch once in a while and offers the doc a free trip to Disney?)
    Somehow the delivery of health care has to be put back into the hands of the doctors/nurses/PA’s.
    The business takeover of healthcare over the past 20 years has not been pretty from “ER stretcher view”. It has brought us a health care system that is inequitable in delivery, unbelievably yet unneccessarily costly and is as inefficient at curing, healing and preventing disease as possible, which puts us all at risk. One thing we do need:
    http://nationalnurse.org/
    Healthcare not sick care!!!

    Reply

  25. comentz says:

    Adding the current cost of the bail-out to the expenditures on
    Iraq/Afghanistan makes me wonder if the neocons are pushing
    purposely this country toward bankruptcy as they call for little or
    no government. Are there any papers out there that discuss this
    scenario?

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  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Has it occurred to anyone that we may now see Bush’s motive in decreeing himself unprecedented executive powers to institute martial law?
    He has just placed the Secretary of the Treasury above and beyond the reach of the law. In effect, this means that NOTHING is exempt from nationalization or confinscation, if it can be done under the guise of economic reform or rescue.
    I will forever loath these fucking cowards on the left for allowing Bush to enjoy a complete escape from accountability or reponsibility for his actions. We the people are paying the price for this cowardice and failure to act as representatives of the people. Our government has utterly and completely failed us, and betrayed us.

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  27. Tom Perry says:

    This economic meltdown is an opportunity too. It is our chance to change some fundamental structures based upon empirical evidence widely available. Or we could just alternate between manic belief and desperation panic. The lights are still on, the roads haven’t rolled up; this is a huge opportunity.

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  28. rich says:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2008/09/now_we_see_it_the_white_house.html#more
    Adam Davidson at NPR’s Planet Money blog finally gets a look at Bush’s massive bailout bill, and it isn’t pretty.
    >>>
    “I would guess that this has to be one of the biggest peacetime transfers of power from Congress to the Administration in history. (Anyone know?). Certainly one of the most concise.
    The Treasury Secretary can buy broadly defined assets, on any terms he wants, he can hire anyone he wants to do it and can appoint private sector companies as financial deputies of the US government. And he can write whatever regulation he thinks are needed.
    I understand that they wanted freedom to respond and an ability to move quickly, but to designate the Treasury Secretary full power to oversee the, uh, Treasury Secretary’s decisions seems unusual. Especially given that Congress only gets a report twice a year:
    Within three months of the first exercise of the authority granted in section 2(a), and semiannually thereafter, the Secretary shall report to the Committees on the Budget, Financial Services, and Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committees on the Budget, Finance, and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate with respect to the authorities exercised under this Act and the considerations required by section 3.
    This graph really stands out:
    “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.”
    Whoa.
    So, for the next three months, and then an additional six months after that, the Treasury Secretary can do anything he deems appropriate without anybody anywhere looking it over.
    That seems like an awful lot of absolute power. Am I wrong? Is this typical bureaucratic langauge? Or is this as strange as it seems?
    The key two paragraphs are, of course:
    “The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time”
    and
    “Subsection (b) of section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking out the dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting in lieu thereof $11,315,000,000,000.”
    <<<
    Everybody get that? “Decisions by the Secretary are non-reviewable.”
    George W. “as long as I’m the Dictator” Bush really would have had an interesting conversation with our Founding Fathers. He’d of lost, of course.

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  29. JohnH says:

    Well said by someone who has enjoyed the benefits of government paid health insurance his entire life, except for when he was a POW. Not that he needed government insurance after he married the Hensley beer heiress.
    Once again, it’s the same old hypocrisy–special treatment for the special people, and the market for the rest of us.
    McCain’s fundamental problem is that he has always been on the government payroll or on his wife’s purse strings and has never been subject to the vagaries and injustices of the market. He just doesn’t get it.
    As a result, he continues to trumpet yesterday’s disastrous solutions for today’s problems.

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  30. lurker says:

    Steve, your pics are just wonderful. They add to the art of your
    blog immeasurably.

    Reply

  31. Bill R. says:

    Historical facts have eroded the right wing ideological ground on which John McCain has stood. He can’t escape his own policy positions. Privatize soc. sec. ( or he calls it “private accounts”)? Radioactive! Suddenly government has become relevant again. Suddenly Wall Street is not the panacea but the anchor dragging us down into collapse. And John McCain, his cognitive impairment has made it less possible to keep up with his flip flops so he doesn’t know where he is.

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  32. rich says:

    It’s more than just a flip-flop, and worse than not understanding the precise meaning of “fundamentally strong.”
    We are now socializing the costs and privatizing profits for the same free-market ideologues who insisted that we didn’t need Depression-Era regulations because ‘the market’ would work all by itself, like magic. Not a bright idea. Not historically valid, and we’re paying the price for caving to dogmatic bullying hoaxters like Phil Gramm, architect of the current economic disaster and John McCain’s chief economic adviser.
    McCain has long been prone to saying what people want to hear at any given moment–Deregulation! Bad Wall Street!–and of course that’s led to many a contradiction.
    But the problem goes much deeper than John McCain. It’s systemic, and extends to folks who borrow stocks they don’t own, to sell ’em short, essentially turning a profit without adding productive value to the economy, and at someone else’s expense to boot. It’s one thing to place a bet, it’s another to gamble. Add on a layer of gambling with other people’s resources, and at the expense of yet another third party, and the connection between reality and the game, between risk and payoff just isn’t there any more. Particularly not in the context of a corporate ecosystem riddled with Enron accounting and which routinely passes out retirement packages such as the $44 million dollars Carly Fiorina got for running Hewlett Packard into the ditch. For there to be a market, some relationship between supply, demand and reality has to reliably hold true.
    Point is, it’s not rocket science, and it’s been going on all around us for the past 8 to 20 years, minimum. Second, John McCain’s campaign is top-heavy with the same tick-like lobbyists that insisted these kinds of economic arrangements were ‘market-oriented’ or somehow sound or in everyone’s interest.
    Dig deeper.

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  33. Linda says:

    Krugman doesn’t quite get it.
    First of all, both candidates are selling basically now impossible messages: 1.) Lower taxes and 2.) More services.
    And they can’t deliver much of that, if any, after the Bush crash and the bailout that will be paid for by printing money. Ultimately that will lead to inflation and fewer jobs.
    Those fewer jobs will have an even lower percent of providing health benefits that McCain would tax, or would be the base of Obama’s health plan or Hillary’s for that matter. The past week changed the possibility of anyone delivering anything like that.
    No matter who is elected, within two years the pain will start trickling down and impact those with jobs, and many workers who have health benefits and spouses who are contract workers (a very common pattern in couples today) will lose their jobs and/or their health benefits.
    In the interim the best plan is to go for Jesse Jackson Jr’s amendment to the Constitution to make health care a right. That can be done and passed and ratified in a hurry in the next 2-3 years. Once that is in the Constitution, the door will then be open to have a better single payer plan, i.e., the dreaded but better “socialized medicine.”
    It’s that simple really, but most of the liberal left will continue to think Obama’s plan is better than McCain’s. That’s not reality. It isn’t going to happen. We can’t afford it.
    But thinking ahead strategically a few years takes a while to happen. Democrats, Progressives, Democratic Socialists, Socialists, Green Party—all the liberal progressive left needs to think about this. This is just my thinking outside the box and my opinion. I wouldn’t bet a penny that they will agree with me any time soon or ever.

    Reply

  34. jcar says:

    Great photo!
    I hate to even say it (again) but Obama just could not make the mistakes McCain is making repeatedly, without plummeting to about 25% in the polls.

    Reply

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