Arresting Passage Of The Day

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on September 13, 2009

The first three paragraphs of Tyler Cowen’s latest New York Times editorial are pretty terrifying:

FOR years now, many businesses and individuals in the United States have been relying on the power of government, rather than competition in the marketplace, to increase their wealth. This is politicization of the economy. It made the financial crisis much worse, and the trend is accelerating.

Well before the financial crisis erupted, policy makers treated homeowners as a protected political class and gave mortgage-backed securities privileged regulatory treatment. Furthermore, they allowed and encouraged high leverage and the expectation of bailouts for creditors, which had been practiced numerous times, including the precedent of Long-Term Capital Management in 1998. Without these mistakes, the economy would not have been so invested in leverage and real estate and the financial crisis would have been much milder.

But we are now injecting politics ever more deeply into the American economy, whether it be in finance or in sectors like health care. Not only have we failed to learn from our mistakes, but also we’re repeating them on an ever-larger scale.

Read the whole thing–especially if you are a member of the Obama Administration. As Cowen mentions, we are “moving in the wrong direction pretty much across the board” policywise. It’s not too late to turn back, but time is running out.

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