Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson finally confirmed what lonely bailout opponents tried to tell the American public all along: The man doesn't know what he's doing.
Paulson held a bazooka to taxpayers' heads. He groveled on his knees in front of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He lured leaders from both political parties into linking arms in a panicked Chicken Little line dance for the beleaguered mortgage industry. Paulson demanded an unprecedented $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program for the good of the country. For the health of the housing market. For the survival of the economy. No time for deliberation. No time to review the failures of such interventionist approaches around the world. Now, now, now!
And now? The pulled-out-of-the-posterior "$700 billion" price tag has ballooned into the trillions. The "mortgage industry rescue" has expanded to banks, insurance companies, automakers, credit card companies and possibly the entire national volume of consumer lending. Oh, and that vaunted "TARP" component, Paulson admitted this week, is nothing but a four-letter word that rhymes with TRAP.
Read it all here.