Thursday, September 18, 2008

"A Different Game"

The passage of time will be necessary before we have enough perspective to sort out what has happened to the financial services industry over the course of this year, so it may be premature to criticize federal regulators for acting precipitously in their bailouts, loans, and other maneuvers designed to prevent our financial services industry from a complete collapse. That being said, whatever the short-term needs of this situation might be, one cannot help to think that in the long-term what has happened is very bad for our way of government. With virtually no congressional debate or public input, the federal government has taken over, financed, and imposed itself upon an enormous segment of the American economy.

Viewed from left, right, or center, that cannot be a good development for representative government.

Meanwhile, even while Congress remains frustrated by its irrelevance in this crisis, lawmakers can be praised at least for the moment for avoiding a do-something-even-if-its-wrong posture. Harry Reid, who rarely is spoken of in a positive way on this site, deserves credit for this candor in explaining why Congress will do nothing on the issue prior to recessing next week: "No one knows what to do."


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