If Shakespeare were alive and had recently met Henry Paulson, the question that he might have posed would have been – To $700 Billion or not to $ 700 Billion ?
On September 26th, 166 American economists including 3 Nobel Prize winners asked Bush not to go ahead with his “Golden Men” team’s brilliant $ 700 Billion package calling his plan a “subsidy” for business. Robert Lucas, a 1995 Nobel Prize winner and a University of Chicago economist says ``It doesn't seem to me that a lot decisions that we're going to have to live with for a long time have to be made by Friday.'' So is this $ 700 Billion something good?
Before pondering on this you must remember, its not only the 300 million US citizens only that will be impacted but rather the ripples will be felt by 6 Billion people across the globe not by this act but rather the outcomes from his actions
The US gave almost $ 150 billion of refunds to tax payers in February this year hoping to revive the economy and for all that what Bush Junior got were a couple of months where sales of Wal-Mart picked up. After that? You guessed it right! More freebies! The $ 200 Billion of Fannie and Freddie Mac guarantees, the $ 75 Billion AIG loan and still no change! The recent $280 Billion that was just given a few weeks back, where has that gone? The big banks have swallowed all of it in their coffers to prop up balance sheets but this has not reached the real economy, so why would $700 Billion dollars which is just the total of the all the above figures stand to be any different? You don’t give checks to people who are going to use this money to stock it up in their lockers to feel good about themselves and especially not to those who articulated the entire epic so far which is turning out to be more dramatic than even the Mahabharata!
Bankruptcies are something that we need to learn to live with. It isn’t like this hasn’t happened before. In 1907 US I banks went bankrupt, Wall Street was cleaned up and subsequently the US became the 20th Century King of the Jungle. In 1966 almost all the financial companies went bankrupt in Japan, the Japanese then cleaned up the system and Japan became the world’s best growth economy for the next 20 years! In 1990s the Japanese propped up banks and, they did not let their banks fail, this led to the creation of zombie banks and major problems for Japan which still haunts it. The same happened in the 1970’s in the US and this was a lost decade for the US with high inflation rates and troubles galore. Even, the dot com burst, all this happened but the world did not end! When capitalism goes awry you can’t bring in socialism all of a sudden, bankruptcies teach the capitalists to respect the markets and accept their failures with humility. So, this current performance is just desperation as the US doesn’t have any bullets left after shooting in the dark.
Till some time before the current banking fanfare Ben Bernake himself like Greenspan was a proponent of ‘the...