Friday, November 14, 2008

The Wrong Side of History

I nearly choked yesterday when I heard the following delusional nonsense come out of Georgie's mouth in his speech to the Manhattan Institute in New York yesterday:

"The crisis was not a failure of the free market system," Bush said. "And the answer is not to try to reinvent that system."

"History has shown that the greater threat to economic prosperity is not too little government involvement in the market, but too much."

Blink. Really? Wow. Who knew? I guess he must be reading out of that OTHER history book - you know, the one where America single handedly won every war it's fought, humans walked with the dinosaurs, and Herbert Hoover was the greatest president of all time.

That same day, Stephen Harper was busy exhorting his base not to become mired in ideology, raising hopes that he might finally be prying himself (and us) loose from the dying, toxic carcass of the Bush administration and it's thoroughly discredited economic policies.

This morning, there's this:

Harper lines up with Bush on reform
Two leaders balk at calls by other leaders for far-reaching new financial regulations

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to join U.S. President George W. Bush in a defence of free-market capitalism and resistance to international calls for dramatic re-regulation of financial markets.

On the eve of a meeting in Washington of leaders from the 20 largest economies, Mr. Bush argued yesterday against drawing the wrong lessons from the global financial meltdown.

In doing so, he rejected the view of leaders like France's Nicolas Sarkozy, Australia's Kevin Rudd, Brazil's Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and even many U.S. Democrats, who have argued the root of the crisis lay in deregulation, greed and unchecked speculation.

...German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month attacked "greed, speculation and mismanagement" as the root causes of the crisis, while Australia's Mr. Rudd slammed the "obscene" failures of financial oversight.

French President Sarkozy yesterday defended capitalism but slammed what the French typically describe as the Anglo-American approach that "everything will be solved by deregulation, free competition and the market."

But in a comment article in Britain's Financial Times yesterday, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty supported Mr. Bush's view that free markets - properly regulated - remain the best approach for encouraging global economic growth and prosperity. "The open market system did not fail in this crisis."

It's like listening to the parishioners of some discredited minister trying to cling to their faith even as their leader is hauled off in handcuffs.

I almost feel sorry for them.

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