Using the Broad Authority He’s Been Granted

Secretary Paulson, in written remarks delivered orally today, advocating a policy of “give away money first and ask questions later”:

“And to adequately reform our system, we must make sure we fully understand the nature of the problem which will not be possible until we are confident it is behind us.”

The implication in October, recall, was that “the market,” and life as we know it, would collapse if action wasn’t immediately taken. There was no time for deliberation because disaster was imminent.

If your small child, the analogy might go, was standing on the tracks in front of an oncoming train, absently nibbling her lower lip and oblivious to the danger at hand, would you call your spouse and discuss whether you had, as a parenting unit, set appropriate boundaries and sufficiently inculcated the dangers of standing in the way of moving vehicles, particularly those that can’t possibly swerve or stop in a timely fashion?

You’d do no such thing and waste no such time. Same for any child, right? Even ones you don’t personally know. You wouldn’t take time to speculate on how she got there; you’d move her to safety, then ask questions.

I submit that this is no child we’re saving, Mr. Paulson. It’s an already plummeting stock market, a prostitute masquerading as a maiden, a foundering economy, a boy who cries wolf, a overvalued credit-default-swap.  And there is no oncoming train. You would have all of us pile on the tracks in front of the train to save the child, and assess the mess when the smoke clears.

I understand I may be ignorant—perhaps more so than I even know. And my voice may be puny. Nevertheless, I hereby deny your statement. I do not accept it as necessary and proper. And I suspect I am not alone. I shall pursue those peaceful means I choose to express this to the wider world. One lonely citizen shaking his fist at a monument is not protected, in my view, by any first amendment. I don’t believe such a right is in your power, or anyone earthly else’s, to grant.