Tom Woods gives an excellent short primer on how the Austrian Business Cycle explains the mess we're in (for a more detailed analysis, read his phenomenal bestseller Meltdown):
In March 2007 then-Treasury secretary Henry Paulson told Americans that the global economy was “as strong as I’ve seen it in my business career.” “Our financial institutions are strong,” he added in March 2008. “Our investment banks are strong. Our banks are strong. They’re going to be strong for many, many years.” Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said in May 2007, “We do not expect significant spillovers from the subprime market to the rest of the economy or to the financial system.” In August 2008, Paulson and Bernanke assured the country that other than perhaps $25 billion in bailout money for Fannie and Freddie, the fundamentals of the economy were sound.
Then, all of a sudden, things were so bad that without a $700 billion congressional appropriation, the whole thing would collapse.
In the wake of this change of heart on the part of our leaders, Americans found themselves bombarded with a predictable and relentless refrain: the free market economy has failed. The alleged remedies were equally predictable: more regulation, more government intervention, more spending, more money creation, and more debt. To add insult to injury, the very people who had been responsible for the policies that created the mess were posing as the wise public servants who would show us the way out. And following a now-familiar pattern, government failure would not only be blamed on anyone and everyone but the government itself, but it would also be used to justify additional grants of government power.
The truth of the matter is that intervention in the market, rather than the market economy itself, was the driving factor behind the bust.
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