What's going on with the United States. It has been the most active week on Wall Street ever with stocks, bonds, and dollars flying like feathers at a pillow fight.
For the third weekend in a row, important politicians and business men meet, discuss, and determine the course of our country out of our emergency need for action...with big announcements unveiled between the stock market bells Friday afternoon and Monday morning.
I strongly believe in the role of the government to help control the financial stability of America. Every country has that responsibility to it's citizens in the way it controls the flow of money, taxes, and access to a federal funds and banking.
Yet, America's 20th century history moved our nation for a country that was isolated in world affairs, to a country that became heavily involved in world affairs as we sought to encourage free enterprise and capitalism within a democratic and politically free society.
How long has the ethos of our politics, and the American academy discredited Soviet Union and China for their restrictions and their high level of government interaction in business and entrepreneurial behavior. All of this always praising the virtues of the free markets and the American entrepreneurial spirit and the opportunities that come with it.
Yet all I hear from politicians campaigning is the virtue of restrictions. All I hear from the White House, Wall Street, and the Treasury is about more money that's going to be vested/lent/spent on bailing out US business.
And after the government pulling Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae back under it's wings, and the bail out of insurance company AIG, there is new discussions and plans involving a half-trillion dollar bailout to house the bad debt of ailing financial firms.
Honestly, I'm not sure what the solution the multi-faceted mess that America is in, but I can tell you this, that a bail-out of this nature makes it appear that the United States (hence the tax payers) wants to shoulder the burden and take responsibility for the global financial system, as if American business was a State run enterprise, as opposed to a private free-market system.
On top of all that, these emergency situations are creating bizarre policy decisions, largely at the leading of Henry Paulson (pictured right). Hardly a regular name in the news over the course of his last two years as Treasury secretary, suddenly this former CEO of Goldman-Sachs is signing blank checks to bailout various companies at his discretion.
How is he making these decisions? After saying yes to Bear Sterns earlier in the year, he then went to say yes to Fannie & Freddie, but no to Lehman Brothers, and then yes to AIG. Where are the guidelines, the checks and balances, the legislation, etc?
What will he say to other companies in the weeks ahead? What will he say to the American Automakers requesting there own bailout from the government?
What exactly is the Paulson doctrine, and is anyone asking what the long term reprocutions of these actions are, or is it all about solving short term problems.
If the problem is that some of these companies are too big and their failure means too much to the US, should we be letting these large failing companies merge to make even larger companies which the country depends on even more?
What is going on?