Congress thinks by analogy
I don’t remember what link I followed to get to this, but never in my life did I expect to agree 100% on any issue with David Stockman. Yes, that David Stockman. Holy wow:
DAVID STOCKMAN: Credit default swaps, OK? And we weren’t bailing out AIG. We were bailing out the banks, because the banks had bought a lot of low-caliber or subprime loans, wrapped some insurance around it from AIG, and said, presto, we have a AAA, a security on our balance sheet.
They didn’t. They had garbage on their balance sheet. And the bailout was to make sure that they didn’t suffer multi $10 billion write-downs on that AIG-supported loan.
PAUL SOLMAN: So, if you had been in the administration after Lehman Brothers, you wouldn’t have supported bailing out AIG?
DAVID STOCKMAN: No, absolutely not. It was the single most, you know, drastic error in policy in modern history, going back to the 1930s. This was exactly the wrong thing to do.
It’s destroyed any basis for fiscal discipline in the United States. I was a member of Congress, and I know how they think. And they think by analogy. If you did it for John, you have got to do it for Bob. There is no way that any congressman is ever going to vote against farm subsidies or ethanol subsidies or housing subsidies or anything else, refrigerator subsidies, once we have made this tremendous bailout for Wall Street, and we stepped into AIG.