An Idiot's Guide to Screwing Up the Economy

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Outgoing Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is peddling a book deal. This morning, Charlie Gasparino offered some book titles. The headline to this blog is just one of them. He also suggested: What I saw at the (Socialist) Revolution. Another choice one: Mysteries of Space: How a Guy with Little Between His Ears Made It So Far.

I have been kevetching about our over-regulated, government-caused (mostly) financial crisis. And Tim Geithner "has done much to damage the country's free markets," Gasparino writes. Gasparino is right about Geithner, but wrong about our so-called free market. The U.S. financial market is not a free market, not even close. It is government owned. Don't believe it? All you have to do is look at the alaphabet soup of regulatory bodies and the thousands of pages of rules and regulations and the cajoling by the government to force the banks to lower their lending standards so that the "dream" of homeownership could be attained by all --- even if you can't afford it.  

Oh, and among the worst of the offenders were government-backed entities (Fannie and Freddie). And the crisis was ushered along by a government-caused monopoly (the debt rating companies). 

John Allison, Cato head and former CEO of BB&T, basically a group of local banks, put it best. This is from a recent blog post of mine:

 

In Chapter Three [of his book, The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure] Allison begins his main argument. And it is strong. I have not read the entire book yet, but as I make my way through, I will report back interesting quotations and arguments he makes. Allison says that the Fed, created in 1913, effectively “nationalized” the U.S.’s monetary system. “The federal government owns the monetary system. We do not have a private monetary system in the United States. Problems in the monetary system were the source of the current Great Recession. If there are problems in the monetary system, they are, by definition, caused by the federal government, because the federal government owne the monetary system.”

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