Put Paulson on Pause

So this morning I learn, courtesy of Today’s Papers, that:

…the Treasury Department officially announced that it has switched gears and will no longer be using the $700 billion bailout package to buy toxic securities. Instead, the money will continue to be used to inject capital into financial institutions with a stepped-up emphasis on efforts to loosen up the frozen consumer credit market.

This was not exactly a suprise, and some might argue it wasn’t even news.

I’m not opposed to the government freeing up lending for cars and student loans, but for credit cards??!?! You have to be kidding! As someone who’s paid his share of credit card interest and fees, I find it astonishing that anyone could pity these companies or have concern about their ability to stay in business. Giving bail-out money to credit card companies is like giving government-subsidized pornography to rapists recently imprisoned rapists.

Obama will be in the white house soon and that will mean change, and hopefully good change. Since the Treasury Department isn’t sure what to do with the Troubled Asset Relieve Program, here’s an idea: We have a huge amount of infrastructure that was built during the last depression, and in many cases hasn’t seen enough maintenance or has been outgrown or both. These are assets. They are in trouble. If you invest in them, they will stay here. The employment created will stay here. They won’t use the money to throw lavish parties or pad offshore accounts or just sit on it to build confidence. It will employ people, and while some projects may take a while to plan and get going, AASHTO has identified ~$18 billion worth of projects that can be started in 90 days or less.

While I’m sure China would love to see healthier credit card companies because much of what people buy with credit cards is made in China, let’s rebuild our country instead.