Megan McArdle and Glenn Reynolds, with apologies for the nested quotation:
THE KING’S SHILLING:
This is troubling, because it’s now clear that the worry many of us had at the time of the bank bailouts has come true: the government is using its intervention in the banking system to pressure banks to give special deals to the government’s special friends. . . . Countries that use their banking systems this way don’t get good results.
Not for the country. For the political crowd in charge it can be pretty sweet.
We are hardly Zimbabwe, or even Venezuela. But if we keep using TARP to create a sort of ‘Most Favored Borrower’ status, we’ll erode the safeguards that keep election to office in America from being the kind of giant spoils system that’s common in much of the world.
We didn’t used to be a place where it was necessary to remind people that we are not Zimbabwe or Venezuela. But we’ve crossed that line already . . .
I have nothing to add to that.