National Review's Kevin Williamson has a great piece on National Review Online in which he very publicly states that his opposition to the Troubled Asset Relief Plan (the bank bailout) was wrong. His concession is worth reading, if for no other reason than to get a quick dose of Uncle Miltie (Milton Friedman).
When the history of this recession is written, the TARP bailout--conceived by the Bush Administration's team as they were beginning to think seriously about what life out of power would be like--will be pointed to as the single most important thing the Federal Government did to avert depression and set the stage for a recovery. I wrote one of my favorite blog entries on the day the House Republicans handed the Bush Administration a defeat on TARP--I felt that House Members were voting to send the Republican Party into the minority for 40 years. Eventually, TARP passed the house, and it provided credit markets with the resources they needed to put their collective fingers in the dyke. We did not slip into depression, and more and more of the TARP money is flowing BACK into the treasury as banks recover and realize they don't like having Uncle Sam on their backs.
What have we done since TARP? How about a $800B in non-stimulative stimulus? How about a $900B health care plan that does not lower costs and covers about 5 million uninsureds? How about tripling the debt? None of this has helped.