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On the stock market and the as-of-now failed "bailout"

NEW YORK, New York - Congress has voted down the "bailout" package and adjourned until Thursday - hopefully a Citizen's Brigade forms to block the doors and not let them back in.

I don't have the time to comment in detail, but I will say this:

I'm a big believer in the stock market in this fundamental sense - that it is essentially a system of communication; the rising and falling of stocks is a referendum on the health of companies and industries, a distributed and decentralized means of determining the best possible allocation of capital.

One might look at the failure of the "bailout" plan and see the reaction of the market and assume that the failure of the plan was a bad thing, because the market is tanking on the news. Already, I watched a closed-caption newscast of an "expert" for twenty seconds in my hotel lobby and saw "the House blew it" scroll across the screen.

The problem with looking at it this way is that not all aspects of our macro situation are represented by a stock on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. For instance, there's no stock on the market that represents a market judgment on the economic health of and relative burden upon the American taxpayer. Were there such a stock, it would be way up today.

There's no stock that represents a market evaluation of our liberty, of our commitment (paltry though it is) of our government not to interfere in the basic process of letting the market reward successful risks, and punish failed risks. Were there such a stock, it would be way up today.

(If we did have a choice of governments, evaluated by a stock-market-style process, bad governance would come screeching to a halt, but that's another discussion for another time.)

It's good, I guess, that 134 Republicans briefly regained the foggiest notion of the true intellectual foundation of their alleged governing ideology. But don't worry - they'll trade it away at the next dangling of a carrot, probably later this week.