VOICES | Is U.S. a financial basket case?


One would have to have an MBA from Harvard to comprehend fully the complexities and nuisances involved in this Wall Street-federal government debacle during the past fortnight that is so rapidly changing our entire monetary system.

However, what we do know is that the U.S. Treasury is having to fork over $700 billion (with a “B”) of our tax monies to even the playing field. What effect that will have on our surviving economy is still uncertain.

According to some in the know, it will threaten the stability of our entire fiscal system, precipitating a catastrophic financial meltdown. One financial guru put it this way: “This will be the first time in the history of capitalistic economics that a world superpower has transformed itself into a Third World nation within a month’s time.”

He predicts that, like existing Third World nations, we too will probably have to resort to getting help from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund ( that we helped to create) rather than being a major contributor.
How did we allow ourselves to get into this situation to start with? The Monday-morning quarterbacks are saying that the government allowed the major financial giants of Wall Street to take over our entire financial industry without establishing the necessary and prudent oversight.

Since this situation has peaked during a national election, it might be a good time to look back on its political origin. Every since the Reagan administration, the monitoring of big business has been considered an anathema — especially with the Republicans that controlled Congress most of those years.
They contended that government oversight hampered business ingenuity. There was a slogan popular with them that went something like this: “Government that governs least governs best.”

Our present GOP nominee for president, Sen. McCain, was foremost among the deregulation crowd. But now that the giant controllers of our monetary system are in deep do-do, they are yelling for us to bail them out with billions of dollars of taxpayers money.

The rationale for the giveaway is that these firms are “too big to fail.” Well, what about the independent neighborhood business. Is it too small to live?
The other thing that bothers many is the urgency being applied to settlement. Congress is scheduled to adjourn soon, and supporters of the bailout are insisting that it must be accomplished during this session.

Matthew Little welcomes reader responses to mlittle@spokesman-recorder.com.