Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Bailed-out companies still failing
Here is a Register editorial on the phenomenon that two of the companies presumably "bailed out" by the taxpayers -- AIG Insurance and Fannie Mae -- are doing worse (bigger losses) since the government supposedly "saved" them. The reason is obvious. In a free market companies that waste money and do stupid things face the prospect of losses and going out of business. But if they get an injection of money from the government, the temptation is to postpone necessary restructuring or rethinking. This outcome was almost entirely predictable, as is the certainty that another dose of "stimulus" won't save the economy. There has been malinvestment (mostly but not entirely driven by government mandates and loose money from the Fed). The bad investments need to be worked out of the system, which is what a recession forces -- unless government decides that some firms are "too big to fail."