Mr. Peepers, perhaps the office's most dedicated Democrat, claims to be a conservative in most things. He plays the stock market more enthusiastically than anyone else in the building, as far as I can tell. Before I could even ask him what he thought of the proposed bank bailout, he gave me a hot tip almost as soon as he came through the door.
"Put all your money in Sealy and Serta," he said.
Then, perhaps lacking confidence in his own joke, he added, "you know, -- mattresses."
So lump him with the libertarians who think the bailout is a bad idea. I got the feeling that libertarians, or at least Ron Paul and Bob Barr, got more time on cable news this past weekend than they normally do. That's probably because the news media believe there have to be two sides to every story. Usually that boils down to the Republican and Democratic, or "conservative" and "liberal" sides, but when the American Bipolarchy speaks as one on an issue, or at least on this issue, with the Democrats looking only to attach more populist measures to the plan, the media seemed to make an extra effort to find dissenting viewpoints. It's too bad they don't do that more often on foreign policy, a topic where the Bipolarchy often seems to speak out of both sides of its mouth, but speaks as one more often than partisans acknowledge.
I could endorse the bailout myself if I were assured that CEOs and other high-ranking, highly-paid people would pay their just share of the burden that will now fall on all taxpayers -- wipe them out if necessary -- and if it came with a thorough reform of the stock market to restore its legitimate role as a means to invest in actual productivity and economic growth and reverse its transformation into a casino where anyone can make a killing by betting against success through short selling and other gimmicks. This should be a bailout of the banking system, not of the bankers themselves.