On the Economy: Could it be possible, we're crowding out a private enterprise recovery by doing enormous amounts of government spending to artificially prop it up ?
Absolutely. All of the banks, investment institutions...even the car companies. These are in many ways TERRIBLE businesses. Toyota & Honda make most of the cars they sell in the US...in the US. So, why aren't they broke & in need of $20 billion?
My bank (B of A) surprise is seemingly guilty, just admitted it later than others that their earnings were going to suffer, etc, b/c of the fall out from the lending fiasco.
All the sudden people with good data (in some newspapers) are saying that given the historical price of houses...real estate prices should drop more than 50% to normalize, as 25% isn't enough to bring things back to the level of affordability we had in 1999 when you compare wages to mortgages.
So if that's true (which it is) then WHY did all the finance companies turn a blind eye? Greed.
If I could get a bill passed to flog the guys responsible, from the government to the boards, to the CEO's...I'd start with Bush, then Schwarzenegger, then Cheney, then some CEO's & board members, then work my way round again.
However...if the government spending was such a huge issue, when the outgoing president had Nothing to lose, he should have veto'd the idea, not given his signature. That might have increased his popularity on exiting.
Historically, government is horribly inefficient. The trillions being tossed around are unlikely to result in long term improvement in the economy. It will result mostly in more government induced bubbles, and higher inflation. The economy will eventually recover in spite of this nonsense, and the government will then claim their bailouts worked and hold parties to pat themselves on the back.
The best thing they could do is to start charging people with fraud for falsely manipulating credit ratings of derivatives, pass new legislation to hold financial execs responsible for poor diligance of government insured instruments, reregulate all such programs with sufficient oversight, and shut down the Fed which is the primary cause of the boom/bust business cycle.
Seems we've all been spending money that we didn't have, yet they are legislating a more spending solution on money we don't have - if someone approaches you and says: "I'm from the Gov't and I'm here to help you"...RUN !!!