Saturday, July 12, 2008

History about to repeat itself in bailout of mortgage industry

by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Ludwig von Mises had a theory about interventionism. It doesn't accomplish its stated ends. Instead it distorts the market. That distortion cries out for a fix. The fix can consist in pulling back and freeing the market or taking further steps toward intervention. The State nearly always chooses the latter course, unless forced to do otherwise. The result is more distortion, leading eventually, by small steps, toward ever more nationalization and its attendant stagnation and bankruptcy.

When you think about the current Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac crisis, you must remember Mises's theory of intervention. Reporters will not, but you must, provided you want to understand what is going on. President Bush is considering a fateful step in a 60-year-old problem: the nationalization of these mortgage companies. He wants to guarantee the $5 trillion (that's trillion with a "t") in debt owned by these companies. Another option would be to put these monstrosities under "conservatorship," which means that you and I will pay for their losses directly.

Either way, it turns out that there is no magic way to put every American citizen, regardless of financial means or credit history, in a 3,000 square foot home. Someone, somewhere, sometime has to pay. No matter what rescue plan they are able to cobble together, that someone is you.

For more on this op/ed piece, go to

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