My Econ Lesson For The Day
By: Mark W Adams

Today was quite fascinating, especially for a Friday.  If you were cat blogging today, you're wasting precious pixels and clogging up the intertubez.  Just stop it.  It's silly.

I found myself breathless as the stock market spanned a thousand points, bouncing up and down like a child on a pogo stick as I watched like a worried parent, knowing I couldn't react in time if she lost her balance, unable to break her fall if she crashed to the pavement. 

Normally, watching CNBC is as interesting to me as studying a fan slowly grind to a stop after the power is switched off.  Usually I would rather watch C-SPAN hearings on agricultural subsidies.  But this week it's been a gripping mini-series, and today has been a climactic cliff-hanger with more fun promised for next week.

Through the day, we confirmed that there is a direct correlation between the length of time George Bush speaks and the speed at which the market tanks.  At the close of the trading day we learned when Treas.Sec. Paulson emerged from his somewhat inconclusive meeting with his G7 counterparts, we are going to do what we need to do to fix the economy (and it probably means nationalizing most of the banks out there) and the other nations will do what they need to do, and everybody promised not to step on each other's toes even though there was no unified approach to address the global economy with a global plan.

I'll say this, Paulson is no Rumsfeld.  Except in the manner in which Still PrezNitWit Bush handed off a crisis to his minister and walked away, it just doesn't feel like he's got a handle on this thing.  Rummy was entertaining and feisty with a self-appreciation that there were things he just didn't know -- and he was sometimes even philosophical about his human frailty.  Paulson is simply feckless, oblivious to his benign neglectful contributions to the current situation, and wholly unable to inspire confidence as he reads from his bullet-points.

Rumsfeld would be defensive and arrogant because he knew he was under fire for his manifest incompetence.  Paulson doesn't seem to possess the introspection to appreciate his complicity in the current fiasco, from doing absolutely nothing for his entire two-year tenure when even someone like me, with a casual interest in high finance at best, knew over a year ago that the housing bubble was in imminent danger of bursting and that there was something called a sub-prime mess fueling instability in the lending business.  How on earth did this thing go to hell without Paulson out there screaming that the sky was falling until if fell on our heads?

At least you can understand Paulson.  It's easier to read between the lines with him.  For an economic kinda guy, he speaks English and if you know a thing or two about how things work, you understand that when he says we're going to take an "equity share" of lots of financial institutions, that means we are about to nationalize the banking industry like FDR did (and not a moment too soon). 

Lord knows I'd be tearing my hair out trying to understand what was going on and the rest of the country would be clueless if Greenspan were still around, cautioning us against exuberant pessimism or some such nonsense.