Grownups vs. children

An interesting dust-up today on Warren Olney's "To the Point" highlights the nub of the financial impasse. Former NYT reporter David Cay Johnston actually questioned whether it was, in fact, a crisis (he called it "a major problem with credit"), while WSJ reporter E.S. Browning could hardly believe that the matter was still in doubt. "I'm just stunned," said Browning, who made about the most sense of anyone Iíve heard this week. "This sounds like a high school debate. Of course, we're in a financial crisis. Banks are failing, brokerage firms are failing. Does anyone think they're just doing this for fun?" Here's the link. Johnston has been on a tear these last few days, taking the networks to task for how they described yesterday's stock market drubbing. (For all his tut-tutting, he did find time to plug his book.)

Over the past few days, thereís been this split between the responsible grownups - we've got a big problem and we need to do something about it, fast - and the petulant children who seem to think thereís plenty of time to consider most any other plan but the Paulson plan. Thing is, there is no time. While the rescue package is not a slam dunk, itís not foolhardy either. And whether we like it or not, Paulson is running the show - and will continue to through at least the end of Bush's term. Raising objections about his ties to Goldman or his earlier missteps (if indeed they were missteps) are really beside the point. And the notion that Wall Streetís fat cats donít deserve to be bailed out has to be one of the dumbest arguments to come along in some time. If you have any doubt, check out how much youíve lost from your 401(k) or mutual fund. This is about all of us.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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