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Citizen Voices

The Market: Free To Go Up Or Down

Back in the day, Republicans were champions of the free market.  At least in theory they favored laissez-faire economics .  Given time the markets would sort themselves out in a reasonably efficient manner.

Economic theory took a back seat to political expediency in several notable examples during the last seven years.  The airlines (and their security contractors) couldn't be held accountable for the failures of 9/11 because the airlines constituted a vital sector of the economy.  The telecoms needed and received civil immunity for whatever it did to the American people on behalf of the Terrorist Surveillance Program, because their cooperation was vital to our national security.  Just this month, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac needed taxpayer dollars to protect their role in the home mortgage crisis industry, which some say is vital to the economy.  

Alan Austin from El Cajon Ca
September 16, 2008 at 06:52 PM
I don't kow if this is where I need to leave this message but here it is. Kpbs is so bias toward Obama. It's horrible. I'm a Obama supporter but can't believe that all your stories are Obama critisizing Mc Canes one liners. All the stories are framed to be supportive of Obama. I know that all of you guys are for Obama but you must remember, KPBS is a public radio station not an Obama radio station. You need to ask someone on the Republican side to review your reports and ask them if they think it's one sided. Critics from the left complain about Fox News, I believe you at KPBS are as bad in your reporting bias. This is one of the reason I stop giving money to KPBS. And stop giving criminals radio time. She doesn't deserve any free advertising after stealing from the public. Thank you, Alan


Matthew C. Scallon
September 16, 2008 at 11:03 PM
I'm not laissez-faire, nor am I Kaynesian. Most times, economics appears more religion than science --in that your model works because you believe it will work-- which is why I remain an economic doubting Thomas. That said, why are so many people running around like chickens with their financial heads cut off? If someone bought any kind of investment, beit stocks, bonds, real estate, etc., none of these things are supposed to be short-term investments. If someone owns none of these things, they literally have nothing to worry about --good luck with that money socked in the mattress. Now, unless these banks and mortgage houses did something patently illegal, I don't see how the government has any role to play. Bank depositors are insured; so long as FDIC, et. al. remain solvent, no one will lose their savings. And, after the wheat has been separated from the chaff in the mortgage lending business, the market will regain the insanely unaffordable levels we've grown accustomed to here in Southern California. ;-) The whole economic mess of today comes down to two things: greed and stupidity. Not greed and fear; greed and stupidity. People wanted to get rich off of the increased housing markets and stupidly gave mortgages to people incapable of paying anything past the teaser rate. Other people wanted to buy that dream home or make a quick buck flipping homes and stupidly took on mortgages that they couldn't afford or, in all charity, that was not the right financial package given their capabilities.

Matthew C. Scallon
September 16, 2008 at 11:10 PM
@Alan Austin from El Cajon Ca, this particular blog entry probably isn't the right place for your comment, although you're welcome here, of course. Perhaps you could try looking at another bloggers' entry (God knows there's enough Obama love from Chris and Alma to keep either agitated or satisfied, depending on how much you like to argue). You could also try the "Political Fix" and the "Off Mic" sections. Those are where the "real" KPBS staff blogs, and you can let them how you feel. Blog away. Cheers!

michael valentine from spring Valley
September 17, 2008 at 05:09 AM
Good thing that social security isn't invested in the market .... eh?

Chuck from Escondido
September 17, 2008 at 01:14 PM
@Michael - exactly, especially given the government's recent interest in investing in failing institutions, like the new $85 billion loan to AIG that reportedly bought the Fed an 80% interest in that bloated insurance conglomerate. I don't really want the government investing tax dollars in the private sector at all, but imagine if this kind of capital was invested in new companies creating new jobs instead of just propping up ancient institutions for the sake of delaying change.


Matthew C. Scallon
September 17, 2008 at 06:17 PM
@Chuck, the AIG bailout shows that the federal government no longer believes in capitalism. I don't say this lightly, but I sincerely believe that our government is not capitalist. As this old article shows , the government is practicing corporatism. Now, I could write what corporatism was called before World War II, but I don't want anyone invoking Goodwin's Law.

Matthew C. Scallon
September 17, 2008 at 06:18 PM
Correction:Godwin's Law. My "o" key got stuck.

David Brumbaugh from Alabama
September 28, 2008 at 01:44 AM
It seems that both Republicans and Democrats want to socialize the economy. The Republicans want to privatize the profits and socialize the risk. The Democrats want to socialize the profits and privatize the risk. Both are a bad plan, but the Democrats run us into the ground more quickly. But, kill me fast or kill me slow ... I'm still dead.