Many years ago farmers were paid not to grow wheat and other type agriculture products. The government was actively engaged in the business of supporting prices.
The government could start a program of buying up homes and stabilize the housing market. That way people could offload their speculative housing losses on the government and taxpayers and it would be obvious. Rather than do that the Fed decided to buy mortgage paper to the tune of $200 billion. It is a more subtle bail out but taxpayers will ultimately still absorb the cost. The market's response was as Holman Jenkins predicted in an earlier op ed piece - a distrusting yawn.
Yesterday an official from Wachovia Bank said the housing market was equivalent to being somewhere around the 7th inning and thus,still had a ways to go before stabilizing. Still appears this caterpillar has more shoes to fall and today a hedge fund shut its windows to prevent more liquidations. The mortgage meltdown will have a far reaching ripple effect because of our passion for leverage. A pebble thrown in the pond makes concentric circles.
On another note the media, more or less, gave Eliot Spitzer a free pass when he was New York's top prosecutor and was running rampart and trampling hard on people's freedoms. However, the press and media were very resourceful in reporting about the alleged impact on our privacy rights when the Administration sought to pursue terrorists through broadened wiretap and other technological surveillance methods.
Then when Spitzer ran for governor he got another free pass as the fawned over his crusading righteousness.
I submit the press and media are engaged in another act of sycophancy with respect to - Sen. Obama, who has replaced the press and media's former darling - Hillary Clinton. Most voters get their impression about a candidate from reading and observing and the press and media's influence and selective reporting is very important in shaping views. Therefore, press and media objectivity, in a free society, is critical. The term "fourth estate" is not without merit.
Part of the job of vetting an opponent is up to the opposition candidate but here again, the press and media play a vital role. With Obama and Clinton we have two candidates bent on convincing voters they have the necessary experience and judgment when, in fact, their record is rather thin and/or questionable in both departments.
Obama's oratory is beguiling whereas, Clinton's is more pleading but behind all their staged mellifluousness is an emptiness that continues to demand probing. After all they are running for the office of the President of the United States and one would think we ought to know as much about them and where they intend to take us as possible.
Obviously the same is true for their opponent, Sen. McCain.
We constantly re-learn there are no free lunches. Well, neither should there be free passes by the press and media for public officials seeking high offices. With the escalating cost of campaigns we seem, all too often, electing the person who can best buy his way into office and that is becoming a dangerous phenomena. In the recent nominating process many a more qualified candidate simply ran out of money, did not have "flash" and thus, were ignored "aggressively" by the press and media.