Hank Paulson changes his tune
Well, what do you know? Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has decided, evidently on his own, to completely reorient the $700 billion bailout program passed by Congress last month. Instead of using that gargantuan (and highly dubious) fund to buy stakes in enterprises that are at risk of failure, as President Bush had specified when begging Congress for the money in late September, Paulson has decided that money would be better spent to prop up the credit sector. Accordingly, he now intends to make sure that consumer credit companies have enough liquidity so that Americans can keep on borrowing and spending like there's no tomorrow. See the Washington Post.
In other words, Paulson is using your tax dollars to prolong a vicious cycle of bad debt, in an economy that is dangerously indebted already. The American economic system is apparently so addicted to continued flows of new credit that the idea of shoring up our individual and collective balance sheets, paying off some of our loans, is not even being considered. Where will this folly lead us to in the end? Perdition, most likely.
If nothing else, Paulson's decision shows what a reckless move it was for Congress to give such enormous prerogative to spend the public's money to a single government official. This is precisely the sort of arbitrary, unaccountable -- dare I say despotic -- kind of government that our Founding Fathers so fiercely opposed. Anyone who believes in a free society of responsible individuals living under a limited government should be mourning what is happening in Washington right now.
Kaine visits Staunton
Governor Tim Kaine paid a visit to several places around Staunton on Thursday. As reported by the News Leader, he warned people to be ready for more budget cuts while at the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center earlier in the day. Later he went to the Blackfriar's Theater and the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library. The Governor didn't make much of a speech at the final venue at which I was present late in the afternoon, at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel. Afterwards, I chatted about the recent election with Chris Graham of the Augusta Free Press, in which his coverage of Kaine's visit appears.