A really excellent piece by Andrew Leonard in his Salon blog. Key quote:
The root of Wall Street’s woes leads back directly to their own strategic missteps, greed, speculation-run-amok, and lack of appropriate supervision. The brightest minds in finance had exactly what they wanted, a playground where the monitors were looking the other way, and they blew it. When the China Investment Corp. pumps in $5 billion to Morgan Stanley, we are not witnessing the triumph of state capitalism, but rather, the embarrassing, humiliating failure of Reagan-Thatcher style unregulated capitalism. So now the U.S. buys Chinese toys at Wal-Mart, and China uses the resulting cash to buy American banks. Hey, anything’s fair in love and war and free markets.
The magnitude of the disaster, from a free market apologist point of view, can hardly be overestimated. By abjectly failing to compensate or cushion the “losers” from globalization — whether by boosting safety nets, improving healthcare, or investing significant resources in education and training — the Bush administration guaranteed a growing groundswell of political opposition to global trade. And by failing to properly oversee financial markets, it provided an opportunity for foreign governments that may not share “American” values to become significant players in the heart of the global financial system. Talk about your legacies! The Bush administration not only may have crippled the Republican Party for a generation, but it also might have broken the free market! Whoops!
Yes, folks: it’s back to Mao and Macchiavelli. Power really does grow out of the barrel of a gun, something which is obscured when the richest country on earth also has the army that everyone else is afraid of. But the Republicans have solved that problem, too.