CNN: Treasury 'Nationalizing More than Vladimir Putin'

     For anyone wary of government intervention in markets, CNN stoked your worries on Oct. 11.

     "Your $$$$$" co-host Christine Romans called attention to the anxiety many people feel about the government's reaction to the financial crisis. Romans said, "Some people would say we're talking about socialism, a nationalism of banks."


     But Romans didn’t criticize two of the show’s guests, Chrystia Freeland, U.S. Managing Editor of Financial Times, and Joe Klein, columnist for Time magazine, who proclaimed the end of deregulation and popular support for regulation.

    Freeland told viewers that Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson "will end up nationalizing more than Vladimir Putin has." Citing Paulson’s action, she declared that "we are at the end of the Reagan Era. This is the end of the era of deregulation."


     Klein contradicted Romans’ earlier statement saying that “It is not only that people want to see government, you know, regulating the economy, but they want to see government regulating everything.”


     Freeland and Klein’s remarks ignored government’s role in creating the financial crisis and free market economists who disagree with the notion that deregulation caused the problems.


    George Mason University economist Don Boudreaux has called the idea “utter mythmaking.” Free market economists have blamed the financial disaster on the government sponsorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, higher risk lending quotas imposed on banks by the Community Reinvestment Act and mark-to-market accounting regulation. But those points weren't used to rebutt Klein or Freeland.

     During another segment of “Your $$$$$,” Stephen Leeb, president of Leeb Capital Management, supported the government spending even more to stabilize the financial sector.


     According to Leeb, the market problems we see “fundamentally can be solved by money. It's a question of how much money we need. Obviously $700 billion did not do the trick. Maybe it'll be five or six times that.” Leebs suggestion for government intervention to the potential cost of up to $4.2 trillion wasn’t criticized by Romans or host Ali Velshi.

     A frequent guest on “Your $$$$$,” Leeb has passionately criticized free market solutions in favor of government action. On Sept. 29, the economist vehemently defended the economic bailout and criticized the idea of a free market solution. On Oct. 4 he warned that delaying a bailout would cause "mass starvation, not just in this country, all over the globe."

    “Your $$$$$” did advise people trying to weather the financial storm. Ryan Mack, president of Optimum Capital Management, urged fiscal responsibility and CNN’s Susan Lisovicz recommended frugality in a separate segment of the show.

     Mack said that sixty percent of Americans spend more than they earn every month, but now is time to get "back to the basics on our budgeting" and be responsible with loans and credit card debt.

     Lisovicz also called for more careful spending, recalling lessons previous generations learned from the Great Depression, such as frugality and living within your means. "It's not a bad thing for all of us to learn that," Lisovicz said.  She also calmly referred to the problems with the credit market as a "normal cyclical downturn."