Economist Dean Baker catches (Beat the Press, 11/8/08) a Washington Post piece that “tells us how the people who designed the bank bailout were committed to the free market.” But Baker is intrigued to note that, “interestingly, the key decisions that they made gave the banks much better terms than they could have received from the free market”:
Since the Post doesn’t really know the innermost thoughts of the bailout designers, let’s try an alternative hypothesis. They wanted to help the banks as much as possible with public money, yet they wanted to rationalize this giveaway of taxpayer dollars as somehow consistent with the free market. Their alleged belief in the free market is simply a cover for efforts to aid the rich.
While Baker admits, “I don’t know if this alternative hypothesis is true,” he writes that “the Post certainly does not know that the story it presented to readers as fact is true,” and suggests “we just get the news media to skip the speculation about people’s ideologies and just report on where the money went.”