Friday, September 19, 2008

The economic meltdown: fallout from cheap fixes, a la "Drill, Baby, Drill"

The "fix" is not going to be easy. An editorial in the Washington Post concludes:

"The government will finance the operation [a bailout] with borrowed money -- on top of a federal budget deficit already projected at more than $400 billion for the next fiscal year. Like the trade deficit, the budget deficit reflects recent economic sluggishness. But it is also structural -- a result of this country's failure to reform entitlement programs, curtail wasteful spending and tax at a reasonable level. It is both satisfying and partly justified to blame this disaster on greedy Wall Street executives and the inattentive Washington regulators who enabled them to build what we now know was a financial house of cards. Wall Street has lived beyond its means, but so has Washington. Both did so, in part, because consumers and voters on Main Street wanted it that way. They craved cheap credit to spend on imported goods, and they resisted tough tax and spending decisions. That, too, must change, lest this generation's costly excesses end up crushing opportunities for its children and grandchildren. "

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