30 Sep 2008

Two Ladies on the Bailout

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Judy Shelton has a fantastic op ed in today’s WSJ on the need for a gold standard. I kept waiting for “her” to say, “Surprise! It’s really Ron Paul writing! Gotcha!” Here’s my favorite part that you rarely see mentioned in mainstream “free market” outlets:

If capitalism depends on designating a person of godlike abilities to manage demand and supply for all forms of money and credit — currency, demand deposits, money-market funds, repurchase agreements, equities, mortgages, corporate debt — we are as doomed as those wretched citizens who relied on central planning for their economic salvation.

Think of it: Nothing is more vital to capitalism than capital, the financial seed corn dedicated to next year’s crop. Yet we, believers in free markets, allow the price of capital, i.e., the interest rate on loanable funds, to be fixed by a central committee in accordance with government objectives. We might as well resurrect Gosplan, the old Soviet State Planning Committee, and ask them to draw up the next five-year plan.

And then reader Jordan Bullock sent me this Motley Fool piece by Alyce Lomax that is pretty sound. An excerpt:

I can’t help but wonder if the point of the bailout is to take the deflated bubble, which was inflated by easy credit to begin with, blow a little air into it, and apply a patch that just won’t hold. Is the real point that we have to return to loose lending to maintain our economic “growth”?

How much would our economy have grown since 2001 without all the debt-fueled spending? I feel like the real message right now is that the party’s over, but nobody wants it to be. (And it was an acid-trip bender to begin with — nothing that happened was actually real.)

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