Bailouts a Fling for Nation Married to Free Market

Bailouts not a betrayal of free market ethos, really
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2008 10:33 AM CST
In this Oct. 19, 2006 file photo, Terry Brunner, left, and Dave Johnson install a windshield on a Cadillac at the General Motors Corp.   (AP Photo/Al Goldis, File)
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(Newser) – Washington's bailout of the auto industry would normally "be a turning point in the history of American Capitalism,” writes Steven Pearlstein of the Washington Post. Now it’s business as usual in “Bailout Nation.” That doesn’t mean the US has abandoned its free market ethos, or lost its appetite for creative destruction, Pearstein writes: There’s a genuine risk of a real depression here, so we’re temporarily putting practicality ahead of ideology.

“This isn't a change in policy or principles so much as a temporary change in circumstances,” Pearlstein argues. Besides, the government has let some companies fail, and even when it steps in, there is a massive, painful restructuring. This auto bailout is essentially bankruptcy without the court, which is how this crisis was always destined to end.