Sunday, September 21, 2008

Finally, a politician who doesn't want to throw taxpayer money at failed companies

Of course, it's Ron Paul, who is finally getting some credit for his warnings about the economy now that they're, you know, coming true. From U.S. News & World Report:

So you think the government should not have bailed out an y companies during this crisis?
"That would have been the best thing. It would have been painful, but housing prices would have come down sharper and faster, and it would have been over by now. But this whole idea of price fixing—that's what they are doing—has been trying to keep housing prices up and trying to stimulate home building. Well, if you have 100 percent more homes than the market really wants, you can't keep prices up and you can't stimulate home building. If the prices go down, then people will go out and buy homes again. So they should allow the liquidation of debt.

Before the Depression, [the government] generally allowed these kinds of problems to unwind. They were very severe. They would last six months or a year—a lot of liquidation of debt would be wiped off the books. And then it would go back to work again. What we've been doing now—especially since 1971—is preventing the real liquidation of the malinvestment and the excess of debt . . . If this process continues, we're going to own General Motors and Ford, then we will have to own the airlines. We are socializing our country without even a vote by the Congress. It's a horrible situation."

Oh, those "warnings" that I mentioned? This is Rep. Paul in 2002:

Ironically, by transferring the risk of a widespread mortgage default, the government increases the likelihood of a painful crash in the housing market. This is because the special privileges of Fannie, Freddie, and HLBB have distorted the housing market by allowing them to attract capital they could not attract under pure market conditions. As a result, capital is diverted from its most productive use into housing. This reduces the efficacy of the entire market and thus reduces the standard of living of all Americans.

However, despite the long-term damage to the economy inflicted by the government’s interference in the housing market, the government’s policies of diverting capital to other uses creates a short-term boom in housing. Like all artificially-created bubbles, the boom in housing prices cannot last forever. When housing prices fall, homeowners will experience difficulty as their equity is wiped out. Furthermore, the holders of the mortgage debt will also have a loss. These losses will be greater than they would have otherwise been had government policy not actively encouraged over-investment in housing.

Hmmm ... Can we have a do-over on the presidential primaries?



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