As expected, the ‘rescue package’ legislation was approved this afternoon by the House, after being previously approved by the Senate on Wednesday. Despite the previous failure of the bill and many people here at Redstate saying the package wouldn’t be approved, we’ve now taken at least one step in the right direction, so that we can continue moving forward with further efforts to really relieve the economy from the crisis we’re facing.
After the bill passed, Warren Buffett talked to his gal pal Becky Quick on CNBC, giving his response to the legislation. I don’t agree with Buffett a lot on policy issues, but since this is an economic issue (i.e., not politics), I’m definitely on the same page as him. The soundbite that really stuck out from his comments was that this rescue package “is not a panacea.” I will come back to this momentarily.
The thing that has really struck me about the policy situation related to the financial crisis is how much the voters seem to be in opposition to the bailout (or rescue). I’ve mentioned this for both her and at Redstate, but we’re hearing everything from concern about the bailout nationalizing the markets to this being the first step towards socialism. I’ve heard people that have not so much as ever picked up a Wall Street Journal (much less study economics or work in the financial markets) express their concern about how this bailout is not what we should do.
I’m always curious when I hear folks talking on this subject, because of course they have a right to talk about this, but after hearing that they are opposed to the $700 billion bailout, I always wonder what they’re solution would be to solve this financial and credit crisis and how they would prevent the economy from suffering a longer and tougher recession. Are we surprised there’s silence at that point?
One of the things that I think concerns people is the pricetag of the bailout. You see, $700 billion hits people that aren’t familiar with the financial markets hard. What they don’t understand is that just under that much was recently injected into the credit markets from the Fed earlier this week, indeed without many people knowing. And, I’m sure they’d be even more concerned if I told them that number isn’t hardly a fraction of what it will cost us to get out of this recession.
Which brings me back to Buffett’s soundbite, mentioned above, because he put very simply what the general public has failed to realize (but, they’re coming around, otherwise the politicians never would have given in). It is imperative for the public to keep in mind that this injection of capital is not meant to solve this crisis. Indeed, the direct impact will probably be relatively small. But, this capital injection is meant to be a bridge loan, where the term has duel meanings. In the technical sense of the term, this actually does serve as a bridge loan, where the taxpayers will get repaid (with interest) for their loan or investment in the market (think ‘convertable debt’).
However, this measure will also serve as a bridge for our credit markets to get the necessary leverage in place, so that they can start recovering. This will have a trickling effect throughout our economy, where it will be that much faster to complete recovery.
So, is the rescue the end all/be all? Of course not. If you’re under that impression, you’re wrong or you’ve been misled. It is, however, a step in the right direction. And, for all of the Joe and Jane Six Packs out there, you’ll come around when you realize that a recovering financial market means good things for you, because even though you may not like “Wall Street Fatcats,” you can have confidence in the fact that those people on Wall Street aren’t getting rich unless they’re creating value for folks on Main Street. That’s the beauty of our financial markets and the rescue package only reinforces that further.