Name game

The House collectively held its nose on Friday and passed into law--- and the history books-- the beyond gigantic "bailout" or "rescue" bill that is supposed to eventually help get our economy humming again. That is why I favored its passage and I do fervently hope that it lives up to its fairest billing.

But if, like me, you'd like to get some kind of grasp on what this mega-package will really mean to our economy-- and our national pride-- but don't have the time, inclination or, ahem, the money, to go back to college and take all those business courses you skipped to make room for a double minor in History and Political Science, you may find this "Name that Economy" piece by Jacob Weisberg posted at educational and/ or entertaining.

"The system that's emerging from this crisis has less to do with the eternal liberal project of finding a humane Third Way between socialism and capitalism than it does with containing the fallout from private risk-taking," Weisberg rightly observes.

He goes onto present and argue against various monikers for the new breed of capitalism now emerging out of our financial meltdown and the resulting governmental response before settling on "Life-Jacket Capitalism."

Weisberg contends the life-jacket metaphor fits because, "Market misjudgments have produced systemic risk with growing intensity and alarming frequency, requiring rescues in 1988 (the savings-and-loan crisis), 1994 (the Mexican collapse), 1997 (the Asian meltdown), 1998 (the Long Term Capital Management debacle), and 2008 (the subprime catastrophe)."

Whether Weisberg's being tongue in cheek or not, I am not so sure he has in mind the right adjective. For what it's worth, and it ain't much, my money is on "Federalized Capitalism."

Dull, I know. But such a label would at least serve to remind the next bunch of Wall Streeters who get too far out of line that they are playing with everyone's economy-- and, in the end, every American's money.