Bush just noted that the crisis was perpetuated because Congress's charter of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac made people believe they were backed by the U.S. government, and let each borrow more money than usual.
Someone more libertarian than I might wonder, if the crisis was caused because of the market distortion of government intervention, is more government intervention really what we're looking for?
The opinion that intervention now will cost us all less in the long run is so pervasive, maybe this is a silly thing to wonder about.
Smarter folks than I have weighed in. Here's a short reading list to get up on the issues:
- Justin Wolfers, How Big is the Bailout?, The Freakonomics Blog
- Rafe Colburn, Why Executive Compensation Should Be On the Table, rc3.org
- David Leonhardt, Issue is Payback, Not Bailout, The New York Times
- Arnold Kling, Are the Credit Markets Locked Up?, EconLog
- (Actually, the last 15 posts or so on EconLog all present interesting skeptical viewpoints about the crisis and the bailouts. Not a bad place to poke around.)
- Global Pool of Money, NPR's This American Life, added 9/25/08
- A Plan for Addressing the Financial Crisis, a paper by Bebchuk reviewed here by Ian Ayres of the Freakonomics Blog. Ayres aptly remarks "It’s fairly amazing that he’s produced an article of this quality in such a short time." added 9/26/08
- Away from Wall Street, Economists Question Basis of Paulson's Plan, Irwin and Kang of the Washington Post, added 09/26/08
Let me know what you're reading in the comments, I'll try to work them into this so we can keep a list of good sources on the topic.