Sunday, October 31, 2010

Yeah, Kelly today ...

Yeah, so I haven't posted for a couple of weeks. I am hoping to get better about that.

I didn't bother with Jack Kelly's column last week, because he was blaming everyone for intelligence failures (except "Able Danger", an apparently muscular data mining program). I am a little baffled by Kelly's column today. He cites a report by Neil Barofsky, Treasury’s Inspector General for the Troubled Assets Relief Program. Now, apparently Congress saddled the TARP not only with saving Wall Street (a reasonable enough goal, or have we forgotten the Great Depression), but also with having banks lend to small business and even bring unemployment down. Now those were laudable goals but as Obama was elected Wall Street decided to refuse to play along. They have loaned little, and apparently are still engaging in risky behavior (as financial regulation slowly gets implemented). Loaning almost no money means that of course that there was not extra cash to expand business, which is how TARP would help unemployment fall.

But what is amazing is that in the interest of criticizing Democrats and especially Obama in any way possibly, Kelly is agreeing with this report from the TARP IG. He is agreeing with the idea that banks should have been forced to loan money to business. What happened to the free market, to shrinking the government, to getting the government off our backs? I mean, I might go for forcing the banks to loan money, but even I would have trouble with what mechanism would be used to decide where loans would be made (how the businesses would be approved and how much).

Kelly disguises his desperate embracing of any criticism of Obama as a criticism of the media. He claims that the “liberal” is deliberately ignoring the TARP IG’s report, because it criticizes the President. Maybe that’s true, although the media (liberal or otherwise) has not really been a friend of the President, with all the coverage of the President’s low approval ratings and sketchy coverage of the health care bill. But here’s a couple of questions: what about the people in government who eliminated the regulations that would have prevented the financial crisis? What about the banks that decided not to lend money?

As I said, TARP’s goal was laudable enough, but perhaps unrealistic. And as Democrats all over the country have done, I have some complaints about the President. But in this case, I think that the “crime” of not meeting unrealistic goals should take a back seat to other “crimes” that have been committed, such as getting us into this mess and those that have done little to nothing to help us get out of the mess.

No comments: