Militant Protectionism

Wes Clark has a bizarre editorial, arguing for a 2nd Detroit Bailout (this year alone!) on the grounds that it will help develop better batteries.

Economist’s View: “What’s Good for G.M. Is Good for the Army”
Now, though, as Detroit moves to plug-in hybrids and electric-drive technology, the scale problem can be remedied. Automakers are developing innovative electric motors … that will have immediate military use. And only the auto industry, with its vast purchasing power, is able to establish a domestic advanced battery industry. Likewise, domestic fuel cell production — which will undoubtedly have many critical military applications — depends on a vibrant car industry.

Wouldn’t it be smarter to subsidize the consumption of batteries, instead of throwing money away on saving UAW-GM contracts?

Rescind the Bush-Pelsoi Bailout?

The Bush-Pelosi Bailout, also called the TARP (Trouble Asset Relief Program), is not popular. The Bailout was passed because George Bush and Nancy Pelosi scared legislators legislatures into giving an unprecedented amount of power to the President during peacetime. We were told that unless we began buying subprime mortgages right now, the world financial crisis would end.

Well, no subprime mortgages were bought. None will ever be bought. Instead, the TARP bailout funds are becoming a political slush-fund. Cities want TARP money. The United Auto Workers want the money. he only thing we know about the people who do not get help is that we will never know about them.

We are no longer in a financial crisis. LIBOR, the rate at which banks lend to each other, is at its lowest level in years. We are now in a bad recession, and we should allow our Constitution to work without the questionable manipulations of the Secretary of the Treasury.

Senator Inhofe says we should cancel the bailout. Ray Hennessey says we should begin unwinding the program. Razib notes that the bailout distracts from real issues of economic equity.