In which I praise Glenn Greenwald

Mark this moment, friends, but Glenn Greenwald’s chronicle of how panicky talk of financial “meltdown” led to the TARP bailout that benefitted Goldman Sachs — well, it’s a very valuable aggregation.

This is one of those left-right libertarian populist convergences. The Goldman Sachs bailout infuriates Greenwald because he hates greedy capitalists; it infuriates me because it shows how big government rigs the game, picking winners and losers.

I’ve got nothing against capitalism, but the buddy-buddy cronyism where Congress, the Treasury and the Federal Reserve decide which companies are “too big to fail,” and cuts special deals for politically-connect companies at taxpayer expense — that’s not capitalism, it’s Wesley Mouch from Atlas Shrugged.

Long before we had a Federal Reserve, the U.S. economy periodically experienced “panics” where markets collapsed and banks failed. The business cycle of boom and bust is no mystery, and last year’s meltdown was just a repetition of a familiar historical pattern. Why, then, the hysteria that led to the recent mania for bailouts and “stimulus”?

So when the government engages in extraordinary interventions, and a few months later politically-connected Goldman Sachs announces record profits, I’m just as pissed off as Glenn Greenwald or any other lefty. It’s the government intervention in the market, and not capitalist “greed,” that is the object of my ire.

Je suis un bloggeur capitaliste! I’m in it for the money, and the bankers at Goldman Sachs are in it for the money, too. But my economic hardship — hey, I know all about risky investments — doesn’t get me so much as a teeny little earmark from Chuck Schumer.

American taxpayers have been the victims of a scam. Unemployment is heading toward 10% while Goldman Sachs executives reap huge bonuses, I’m with Cody Willard: Prosecute the thieving jackals. And while we’re at it, how about we prosecute Schumer and Chris Dodd and Barney Frank and maybe a couple of Cabinet-level officials, just for the spite of it.

Ben Bernanke! Hank Paulson! Neel Kashkari! Tim Geithner! Let’s put ’em all in orange jumpsuits and perp-walk them straight to Leavenworth.

Sending Goldman Sach executives, a half-dozen members of Congress and a few senior administration officials to federal prison won’t necessarily do anything to revive the economy, but won’t we all feel a helluva lot better knowing the idiots who got us into this mess are being pimped out in Cellblock C for a carton of Newports?

That’s not the kind of free-market transaction they teach in MBA programs, but maybe it should be.


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