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Opening Arguments

The fun continues

OK, show of hands. Who's shocked, shocked, shocked and dismayed by this?

Reporting from Washington -- Will $700 billion be enough? That question emerged Monday as the Bush administration decided to pump more money into insurance giant American International Group Inc. and lawmakers pushed to extend the government's rescue to the ailing automobile industry.

The extra money for AIG, part of a major overhaul of the effort to keep the company out of bankruptcy, brings the government's tab to about $150 billion, up from about $123 billion. In a concession that the previous fix was inadequate, the Treasury Department said it would also spend $40 billion to buy an equity stake in the company.

Just spending billions to prop up failed institutions. After the bailout is extended to the auto industy (the part of it based in Detroit, at least), what would be the rationale to deny anybody who gets in line? A bankruptcy wouldn't necessarily mean a GM, for example, would go out of business. It might force executives and union members to rethink what they're doing and how, in a way a bailout wouldn't. But that would be letting the market work, and we can't have that.