September 20, 2008
Follow me on Twitter

Trusting the Clowns

I seldom link to current stories in the NY Times. Everyone else covers today’s news; if you're interested, you likely hear about things elsewhere. But Joe Nocera’s summary of the Bush administration response to the market meltdown this week is something you must read.

These folks don’t believe in government. They couldn’t get food and water into New Orleans after Katrina. They couldn’t rebuild the city. They still can’t get the light switches to work in downtown Baghdad. The president, notoriously, can’t really speak plain English. Suddenly, they’re throwing around a trillion dollars in a plan to fix the markets.

Will it work? No one knows — because they haven't really figured out what they’re going to do. And they certainly haven’t told anyone.

Don’t read too much comfort into Friday’s rebound. Nobody understands what is happening, and nobody trusts, or should trust, the plan. Maybe, before every US household pitches in $20,000 to buy up derivatives of bad mortgages — not foreclosed homes, not even bad mortgages, mind you, but derivatives — we should be told what the deal is. Maybe we should read the fine print.

What do you want to be that Halliburton and Blackwater make out?