Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pelosi's speech

Last night I found myself stuck in a taxi listening to NPR, which seems to be the station of choice among most cabbies in DC. Coming over the speakers was the screachy voice of Nancy Pelosi, full of self-congratulation for members of the House of Representatives and bile for Wall Street over the financial crisis. To the transcript:
[$700 billion] is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush administration's failed economic policies: policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything-goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system.

Democrats believe in the free market, which can and does create jobs, wealth, and capital. But left to its own devices, it has created chaos.
This is nothing more than Democratic boilerplate. No one has given any real explanation as to how alleged mismanagement by the Bush Administration produced the current crisis or what regulations should have been in place to stave it off. Think about that, even with 20-20 hindsight no one is willing to say how this could have been prevented. The bit about "no regulation" is of course a complete lie and, as I noted in my previous post, the Bush Administration in fact tried to reform Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae a total of 17 times.

Also, Pelosi apparently has no idea what a free market is, since she says that she is for them but then says that they can't be left to their own devices -- government-speak for more regulation. A highly regulated free market is, of course, a contradiction in terms.

Continuing on, Pelosi uses the now hackneyed contrast of Wall Street and Main Street on three occassions in her speech. Then she starts lauding her fellow politicians for their reaction to the crisis:
I must recognize the outstanding leadership provided by [the chairman of the House financial services committee and Democrat of Massachusetts] Barney Frank, whose enormous intellectual and strategic abilities have never before been so urgently needed, or so widely admired.
One word comes to mind to describe such sentiment, but since this is a family blog I'll instead substitute it with "poppycock" and "balderdash". Barney Frank is arguably at the epicenter of this whole mess and a leading opponent of efforts to reform, with the Wall Street Journal editorial board recently labeling him as the "patron saint" of Fannie Mae. He certainly did himself no favors with this now infamous quote:
"I do not regard Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as problems," he said in response to another reform push. And then: "I regard them as great assets."
Barney's ties to Fannie Mae go even deeper, with the Massachussetts congressman even having a long-time boyfriend that was an executive at the government-sponsored enterprise.

Moving along:
This legislation is not the end of congressional activity on this crisis. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will continue to hold investigative and oversight hearings to find out how the crisis developed, where mistakes were made, and how the recovery must be managed to protect the middle class and the American taxpayer.
I certainly take Pelosi at her word here. I imagine that we are going to be treated to the sight of various Wall Street types being browbeaten and otherwise harangued by imperious congresspersons, hypocritically railing at them for their financial shenanigans while the U.S. budget hermorrages red ink and serves as a prime source of political patronage of those in power. We are in for some prime political theater.

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