|Obama Fails the Test||"We're Owed and They Aren't"|
by Christopher Chantrill
March 20, 2008 at 6:38 pm
WHAT DO we do about institutions, particularly financial institutions, that are too big to fail?
In the current credit crunch that becomes a big deal. The government runs around worrying about the bankers. It seems like we let the little guy go to the wall, foreclose on his mortgage, and send him out into the street.
Not one penny, you might say, for the struggling homeowner, but billions for the bankers.
Last weekend, the Federal Reserve bailed out failing investment bank Bear Stearns.
Actually, the Fed didnt quite bail out Bear Stearns. They gave it to JP Morgan Chase for a couple of hundred million. That means that Bears stockholders got two cents on the dollar. I dont think thats exactly a bailout. It looks to me more like a haircut.
You can tell that the Fed probably did the right thing by reading what Larry Kudlow, an old Bear hand, had to say about it. He wonders if Bear Stearns really had to go down in flames. After noting that the Fed could have let Bear Stearns in at the discount window and telling us that he used to work at Bear, he gives us this:
All of this kind of makes me wonder whether Bear Stearns wasnât some kind of sacrificial lamb. Did government policy makers hope to convince the public that a big Wall Street firm could indeed fail? Or wouldnât be bailed out? Listen, they were buried, not bailed out.
The fact is, Bear shareholders got creamed with the $2 per share purchase price. The shareholders include all the men and women whoâve worked there for years, and who own roughly one-third of the firmâs equity.
After the Bear Stearns creaming, the word was that Lehman Brothers might be next. But the Lehman bears got a talking to from the Fed: Keep lending to Lehman, the Fed said. You could translate the message, if you like: If you chaps keep on down this road, the Fed seemed to say, we could end up giving all you chaps a haircut too.
So maybe the Fed isnt crazy when it makes a sacrificial lamb out of Bear Stearns. Maybe it is sending a message to the sharks: we are loading up with harpoons here at the Fed.
Maybe the Fed is crazy like a fox.|
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable...
[1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
Lord Salisbury, Letter to Lord Lytton
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, The Scientist as Rebel