But if capitalism is to survive, shouldn’t the Republican party, the party that defends democratic capitalism, be particularly vehement in denouncing its excesses? Isn’t this a pretty spectacular one? And isn’t this a moment for the GOP to separate itself from the Bush administration as well as the Obama administration, who together have been responsible for an incompetent and improvident bailout? Figuring out the right policy going forward with respect to toxic assets and the rest is, of course, a major intellectual task. But being on the side of a healthy populist reaction to the AIG situation is at least a good political start.
What worries me about this is that the politics of the AIG mess are so simple that even a sub-simpleton such as Kristol can accurately describe them. As I’ve said before, the Obama Treasury Department is literally giving us a rerun of Bush-Paulson policies by sending a bunch of money to insolvent financial institutions in the hopes that … ?????
If Team Obamee is smart, they’ll come out today and announce that they’re forcing AIG to renegotiate its contracts with its employees, just as the autoworkers have had to renegotiate their contracts with GM, Ford and Chrysler. Because if they don’t, they’ll be giving the GOP the opening that they’ve been so desperately seeking.
UPDATE: The good folks at MoveOn are thankfully all over this and have created an Internets petition for you to sign if’n you’re a mind to.