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Flirting with socialism in America
Is nationalizing U.S. banks the way to save the financial system?
G

et ready for some American-style socialism, said Anthony Faiola in The Washington Post, because the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression has done in our brand of capitalism. Credit is "the life blood of capitalism," and now that it has ceased to flow, the government is preparing to at least partly take over the banks at the heart of the "once fiercely free-market financial system."

"Never in our wildest dreams did we expect a conservative president to nationalize American banks," said the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in an editorial, but it's not the beginning of "a socialist America." Nationalizing banks can be a temporary measure to give bankers enough confidence to start lending money again, and that will help us "navigate the crisis."

Terrific, said Nick Gillespie in Reason online, so President Bush, who promised to privatize Social Security, will instead be remembered as the man who presided over the "semi-socialization of the nation's financial sector." And, lucky taxpayers, if Bush has his way we'll all get "big steaming piles of equity in a bunch of dying car makers and airlines too."

Get over it, said Paul Krugman in The New York Times. The Treasury Department's plan to follow the lead of British officials to shore up the big banks is not perfect. But "the time to act is now. You may think that things can't get any worse—but they can, and if nothing is done in the next few days, they will."

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