The Commanding Heights


In a post from May 2009 about bloc voting creating effective one-party rule, Arnold Kling throws out this aside:

I saw this scenario playing out way back in September [2008], when I tried (unsuccessfully) to convince a Republican Congressperson to vote against what we now call TARP. I said that this would be exactly what the Democrats needed — much greater government control over the financial system and big business in general. From now on, every Fortune 500 company has to align itself with the party in power.

I am curious what Arnold thinks of this now. It seems to me that in hindsight, even a conservative/libertarian TARP skeptic should be willing to concede that Obama never had any intention of using TARP to assert greater control over the financial system and, in the event, didn’t use it to assert greater control over the financial system. Ditto for the auto bailouts and the stress tests. The financial reform bill, conversely, was designed to regulate the financial system, but did it in the most minimal way possible considering the vast damage that the financial system had just finished causing us all. 

In fact, all things considered, Obama treated the financial system with kid gloves, and despite — or because of? — that treatment, the financial industry (and big business in general) rather flamboyantly declined to align itself with the party in power this year. We saw the results of that yesterday.

But I wonder if Arnold sees things that way too? Probably not.