“A Second Opinion” : Bob Herbert in the New York Times today:

Mr. Paulson himself was telling us during the summer that the economy was sound, that its long-term fundamentals were “strong,” that growth would rebound by the end of the year, when most of the slump in housing prices would be over.

He has been wrong every step of the way, right up until early last week, about the severity of the economic crisis. As for President Bush, the less said the better.

The free-market madmen who treated the American economy like a giant casino have had their day. It’s time to drag them away from the tables and into the sunlight of reality.

Now is the time for straight talk, not bullshit. Instead, we get more financial engineering from Paulson and the latest WHIG (White House Insiders Group). Bernanke’s monetary helicopters are targeting direct drops of taxpayer money on the richest investors who have already played, and lost, with OPM. The solution? The rest of the OPM available in the country. And now.

“Some people” argue that the bailout is needed now because otherwise – Armageddon, or the Apocalypse, or whatever unimaginable financial horror they scare us with. The truth is, they don’t know what will happen if the companies at risk go back and do their due diligence and account for their schemes, price their “assets” to market, and tally up the bill and balance sheet. We don’t know. And rather than a quick liquidity fix the size of a Bush defense budget, we should insist that the evil-doers who finagled this mess figure it out and report back to us. In the meantime, maybe we can freeze their assets, put a mechanics lien on their institutions till they tell us what we’re in for if we DO bail them out.

Bastards. Anyone could see this crash coming. It was wishful thinking to ignore it. (Reminds you of this Administration’s claim “Nobody could ever have predicted they would hijack airplanes and …”)

The Editorial Board in a separate piece hit the Republicans hard for their sudden change of heart about financial oversight:

As delighted as we were to hear Republicans talk about oversight and accountablity, we couldn’t help but wonder where they were for the last seven years as the Bush administration essentially operated without Congressional oversight.

Where were they when Mr. Bush engineered the unnecessary invasion of Iraq and then bungled the invasion, its aftermath, and years of spiraling warfare? (PJ: And the $1-7 T the war will cost, creating inflation for the Democrats to get blamed for).

Where were they when he trampled on the Bill of Rights with the Patriot Act and made a mockery of the American judicial system with the Guantanamo Bay prison and the Military Commissions Act of 2006?

And where were they when Mr. Bush and his team were busy shredding the balance of powers, the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches with an illegal wiretapping program?

Sorry, couldn’t help adding to the post. Read the pieces and weep, again, for our country.

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