During a family get-together over Christmas, the conversation among the men inevitably got round to the current economic meltdown. Sooner or later, and sadly just as inevitably, someone trotted out the cliché, "laissez-faire capitalism doesn't work".
My old heart sinks when ever I hear my own flesh and blood mindlessly trotting out these old chestnuts as if they were revealed dogma. There is admittedly a superficial truth in this slogan; but it’d rather like announcing that marriage doesn't work and then pointing to Fred West's basement as proof of your contention - all that is being demonstrated is that in a fallen world, nothing is perfect.
In the culture of the
North Atlantic alliance most have had their compasses confiscated and thus are like walking iPods, and the educational, political and media élite can write on them any tune they want. Thus they engineer consent to their chosen ideologies and outlaw ideas that they do not currently favour. They persuade millions that their masters’ ideas and beliefs are their own. It is depressing to realise that your offspring, whom you carefully raised to be independent thinkers, have morphed into walking compendiums of received opinion. The problem with “received opinion” - like its smug cousin “conventional wisdom” - is that it's not really opinion at all, but merely the safe adoption or whatever is fashionable and trendy. There was more independent thought in Spain at the height of the Spanish Inquisition than there is today in under the jackboots of our secular left thought police. Britain
“Conventional wisdom” and “received opinion” would have us believe that the current economic meltdown had something to do with the failure of free markets and capitalism, or a lack of adequate regulation, bankers’ greed, etc. Whilst the greed of bankers may be repugnant, it is as relevant to the current economic meltdown as my gate post is to the price of fish.
The simple truth is that our current mess has absolutely nothing to do with the market, and everything to do with political meddling in the market driven by left-wing interventionist ideologues. It is important to note that this secular left mindset is now shared even by those who present themselves as conservatives: George Bush and David Cameron being obvious examples.
There are in fact five culprits who should be in the dock for the current economic mess: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (which at one point were underwriting no less than seventy-five per cent of all US mortgages!), the Community Reinvestment Act and affirmative action in lending, the US government's artificial stimulus to speculation, the "pro-ownership" tax code and the Federal Reserve and its artificially cheap credit. Not one of these guilty parties has the slightest thing to do with the free market: they all arise from government policies driven by the left’s interventionist creed, i.e. the belief that laissez-faire capitalism doesn't work.
Let's take a closer look at the first defendants; Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, neither of which were constructions of the free market. They are both government leviathan, capitalised and financed by eye watering sums of taxpayers’ money and that phony cash that the Fed routinely magics out of thin air.
They spent their ill-gotten gains buying up mortgages from banks and financial institutions. This had a number of entirely predictable results: 1) banks now had virtually unlimited sums to invest in the housing market, sum that go vastly beyond what a free market would devote to that area of the economy; 2) banks are artificially shielded from the normal risk of a free market and thus take risk that they would not have done in a free market; 3) because so much money is slopping about in the housing market, house prices are artificially inflated and eventually shoot through the roof.
As a result of secular left government policies, we now have vast sums of money being loaned to the sort of people the sane would be reluctant to loan a fiver to, in order to encourage them to buy vastly overpriced real estate! But Fannie and Freddie had not finished: they were then trying to cover their butts by parcelling up the doggy mortgages they had both created and purchased with taxpayers’ money and sold them on as equally doggy investments. And when the bobble finally burst, as anyone who was not a complete economic dunce would have foreseen, the politicians whose meddling in the free market caused the mess in the first place are now running around telling us that the free market doesn’t work, and needs yet more regulation!
Only around five
senators had enough economic savoir-faire to foresee that this meddling would end in tears. Of particular note is Senator Ron Paul (one of the front runners for the Republican nomination); five years before the bubble burst, Senator Ron Paul had denounced the whole scheme as nothing more than a giant taxpayer funded Ponzi scam. US
Once the bubble burst, banks and financial institutions of course rapidly returned to a more prudent and cautious loan policy, a policy that had served the market well for decades, if not centuries. What do our politicians do? Call for the banks to return to the sort of reckless lending that had got us in the mess in the first place! So the current crisis, having been caused by excessive and imprudent lending, is now going to be solved by still more politically driven and artificially stimulated imprudent lending - yea, and I’m writing this blog riding a camel.
Poulson, the onetime US Treasury Secretary, even bemoaned the fact that “millions of Americans” were facing rising credit rates and reduced access to credit, and thus, “making it more expensive for families to finance everyday purchases.” What planet are these guys on? What sort of healthy economy wants people to buy their weekly groceries on credit?
It’s as if a gang of political thugs employ two heavies, Freddie Max and Fannie May, to beat up granny Freda Marwick for money that they allege she owed them. And when poor Freda dies at the hand of these two heavies, the gang of thugs, when put in the dock, claim that they never had any dealing with Freddie Max and Fannie May (“never heard of em guv”) and it’s all Freda Marwick’s fault for dying in the first place - “You should have all known you couldn’t leave old Freda Marwick to look after herself,” they proclaim. And in the secular asylum that we are all currently forced to live, the jury actually buys the crap and acquits the bloody lot!