Bill Kristol Makes Sense, Black is White, Up is Down, Planets Temporarily Align


Brace yourself. Bill Kristol’s column this week on the financial institutions’ imminent failure and subsequent fiery explosion isn’t shit. In fact, it actually makes a lot of sense. Wait, what? That’s not true. That’s impossible!

For that to be true, Billy would have to stop carrying the water and show some kind of wariness towards the Bush administration’s bailou—

But is the administration’s proposal the right way to do this? It would enable the Treasury, without Congressionally approved guidelines as to pricing or procedure, to purchase hundreds of billions of dollars of financial assets, and hire private firms to manage and sell them, presumably at their discretion There are no provisions for — or even promises of — disclosure, accountability or transparency. Surely Congress can at least ask some hard questions about such an open-ended commitment.

Oh. Oh my. Disclosure? Accountability? Transparency? That actually seems pretty reasonable. I even agree with that. Where was this Bill Kristol when the war broke out? But surely, there must be some kind of obligatory, totally unfounded barb aimed at Obama. I mean, this is a Bill Kristol column after all…

Barack Obama called Sunday for more accountability, and I imagine he’ll support the efforts of the Democratic Congressional leadership to try to add to the legislation a host of liberal spending provisions. He probably won’t want to run the risk of actually opposing it, or even of raising big questions and causing significant delay — lest he be attacked for risking the possible meltdown of the global financial system.

That… that seems kind of true. Sure, it’s almost an attack Obama for not having the stones to oppose the bailout, but from what Obama has been saying so far, that doesn’t seem all that off the mark. Next thing we know, Bill Kristol will start advocating something like taking money from the rich or someth—

Comments by McCain on Sunday suggest he might propose an amendment along the lines of one I received in an e-mail message from a fellow semi-populist conservative: “Any institution selling securities under this legislation to the Treasury Department shall not be allowed to compensate any officer or employee with a higher salary next year than that paid the president of the United States.” This would punish overpaid Wall Streeters and, more important, limit participation in the bailout to institutions really in trouble.

Ok, seriously. Who kidnapped Kristol and started writing his columns? I’m looking at you, Paul Krugman.

[A Fine MessThe New York Times]


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