The more I hear about the arrest of Minerva, the more I feel the stupidity reeking from the part of the South Korean government. Minerva is the handle of a user who writes on the Daum Agora website, a South Korean public discussion site, who had gained a reputation as a financial pundit with his predictions of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and the declining value of the South Korean currency. The arrest is based on Minerva supposedly posting two posts with false information out of the hundreds that he had made.
The $700 billion bailout bill was supposed to save the economy from collapsing into ruin. While I had a bad vibe from the bailout bill because of the huge debt it incurs on the federal government and what it could incur, not to mention the moral hazards, it now seems that it isn't even accomplishing what it's supposed to be doing.
One of the things the bailout bill was supposed to do was to prevent large financial institutions from collapsing and taking some wealth from everyone with them. But the much more important and relevant function was to get them to make loans and investments again so that corporations in other industries can get the day-to-day capital they need to maintain their businesses. If this latter goal isn't achieved, then there isn't really much point to the financial bailout bill.
But it's failing miserably. Not only do we hear all the grumblings that the required loans aren't being made and the credit markets are still largely frozen, but we also have a vivid example of its failure with the attempted automaker bailout. If it was working, why are the automakers asking the government for loans? They should be asking the banks! Either the bailout bill is failing miserably to achieve its most important goal, or the automakers know that they can't pull the wool over the banks' eyes so they are trying to pull it over the public's.
The first reaction I had when hearing about the $700 billion bailout plan was that it's a distasteful but probably necessary response to the current financial crisis. However, the more I think and hear about it, the more I begin to think it could end up being a disaster.