Saturday, September 20, 2008

You pays your $700 billion bailout, you takes your pick...

Version #1 - An excerpt from an article [.pdf] by John McCain in the September/October 2008 issue of Contingencies, a journal for actuaries:
Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation. [Emphasis added.]
From an interview in the Wall Street Journal (March 2008):
As far as a need for additional regulations are concerned, I think that depends on the legislative agenda and what the Congress does to some degree, but I am a fundamentally a deregulator. I'd like to see a lot of the unnecessary government regulations eliminated, not just a moratorium.
Version #2 - After his recent epiphany, the Wall Street Journal (September 17th) describes McCain's latest position:

"Under my reforms, the American people will be protected by comprehensive regulations that will apply the rules and enforce them to the full," Sen. McCain said in Florida Tuesday. "There will be constant access to the books and accounts of our banks and other financial institutions. By law, it will reduce the debt and risk that any bank can take on. And above all, I promise reforms to prevent the kind of wild speculation that can put our markets at risk, and has already inflicted such enormous damage across our economy."

The sentiment is a far cry from Sen. McCain's antiregulation record. On the stump, he didn't explain how he would distinguish legitimate investment from "wild speculation" or exactly what steps he would take to eliminate the latter.

His campaign announced a new TV ad with the senator saying: "I'll meet this financial crisis head on. Reform Wall Street. New rules for fairness and honesty. I won't tolerate a system that puts you and your family at risk."

Groucho Marx said it best: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others."

McCain's latest about-face presents yet another variation on the perennial questions of U.S. politics:
  1. Will it play in Peoria? And, related to that,
  2. Is anyone outside the netroots really paying attention to this stuff?
[H/T to dday at Hullabaloo for the Contingencies link.]

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