The essence of this crisis is lack of knowledge, including the inability to know who owes what to whom, and where risk resides. In such a moment, government’s speed should not vary inversely with its information. With government’s prestige, measured by approval ratings of the president and Congress, at a historic low, government is taking on unprecedented responsibilities. Henry Paulson, a.k.a. the Fourth Branch of Government, is intelligent and indefatigable and has as much pertinent experience as could be hoped for. But no one has ever had much experience that is pertinent to the tasks that would be assigned to him by the three-page legislation that would give him almost complete discretion over at least $700 billion.
A lot of people are demanding action right this second. Iâ€™d prefer that our elected representatives do their jobs and do the best they can to get this thing right from the beginning so we donâ€™t have more problems down the line. If temporary measures are needed to keep markets afloat, then temporary measures can be taken. But I’m in no hurry to throw around $700 billion.