Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I want to take another shot at something I tried to get at this in my last post, because it relates to Newt Gingrich's latest eructation. You see, what Newt is saying sounds almost like anti-fat-cat, pro-ordinary-schmuck populism, but I think it only seems that way if you don't recognize the Randian undercurrents:

...the cure for our outrage is not merely, as President Obama is demanding, that AIG be prevented from paying its executives. The $165 million in planned bonuses -- as manifestly undeserved as it is -- is chicken feed compared to the $170 billion in taxpayer funds AIG has received so far.

Nor is it acceptable to ask Americans to keep throwing their tax dollars at failed companies and their leaders.

The answer is an old fashioned one: AIG should choose between receivership or bankruptcy. It should not be allowed to choose more bailouts from the taxpayer.

... bankruptcy would replace the rule of politicians over U.S. financial institutions with the rule of law....

Gingrich isn't angry at fat cats. Gingrich is merely distancing himself from these fat cats. To Gingrich, capitalism -- the system that makes fat cats -- is still inerrant. These fat cats are just bad capitalists -- just as George W. Bush is, to Gingrich and other Republicans, a bad Republican (even though they loved him when he was winning elections). Conservative Republicanism is inerrant, too, so any failure that seems traceable to conservative Republicanism must be the fault of someone who is a failed conservative Republican -- and the financial meltdown is, similarly, the fault of failed capitalism.

This fits perfectly into Rand/Friedman thinking. The solution to seeming problems with capitalism is more capitalism -- there literally are no problems in the marketplace that can't be solved by the marketplace itself. Government must never intervene. (Even if failure to intervene the recession becomes a depression and ruins lives for years and years.)

Gingrich and his ideological soul mates will be the loudest cheerleaders of any sleazy greedheads who eventually create a new recovery, even it's based on a bubble, and even if the poor get poorer as the rich get richer. Gingrich et al. hate AIG and the current crop of failed fat cats because they're failures -- the Bushes of capitalism. Don't be confused.

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