Bush speaks on the economy:
Explaining the current economic downturn to a closed-door fundraiser last week, President Bush said, "Wall Street got drunk."
"There's no question about it," Bush said. "Wall Street got drunk, that's one of the reasons I asked you to turn off the TV cameras. It got drunk and now it's got a hangover. The question is how long will it sober up and not try to do all these fancy financial instruments."
Huh? What does this mean? "Wall Street got drunk" is a metaphor. So what exactly is this man saying? Who knows? Does he know? I doubt it.
What exactly is wrong with "fancy financial instruments"?
The implication of Bush's statement, which he is too stupid to understand, is that the market failed because there's just something wrong with capitalism. And the logical implication from there is that we need more government regulation of Wall Street. No, of course Bush didn't say this; he never thinks out the logical implications of his statements. He just speaks, like his favorite political philosopher, in woozy metaphors that can mean anything.
Bush's statement indicates that he has learned nothing in his Presidency. He does not understand what a disaster it has been.
As Mises and the Austrian economists taught us, boom and bust cycles result from distortions in the economy caused by government intervention. When government printing presses create credit expansion, eventually some bad things will happen. But Bush doesn't give a damn about that because he oversaw a boom as he sent inflation through the roof to fund his Presidency -- and the next guy will have to worry about the bust.
So if Wall Street got drunk, it's because the Bush administration kept serving drinks on the house -- long after closing time.
For Bush to criticize Wall Street is like, to use another analogy, a pusher pointing to a bunch of addicts and saying, "Look at those junkies. Disgusting! Why don't they live a clean life?"
What American freedom we still have has survived much in the last two centuries, but I don't think it can survive another moron in the White House.
UPDATE: Wolfgang, a German blogger, translates a few passages from this post into German. It's the first time I've read my words translated into a foreign language -- a minor thrill, but a thrill nonetheless. Thank you, Wolfgang!