Allright. I've been looking forward to disagreeing with Megan McArdle about a crucial issue of public significance and here we go as she accuses Paul Krugman of making "completely unfounded aspersions on the competence of the Treasury Secretary."

That's totally insane.

The foundation of my massive suspicion of Hank Paulson's competence is that he voluntarily went to work for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. I'll grant that this is a defeasible suspicion and if Paulson manages to perform some skilled financial wizardry I'll revise my view, but for Paul Krugman and I to assume ineptitude or corruption at this point is just common sense. The Bush administration has, up until now, never made economic policy in the public interest so I would be shocked if they were to do so now. My instinct is to say that columnists overrate the odds of major financial crises (columnists always overrate the odds of something dramatic happening), but that insofar as things happen Bush and his subordinates will use it to try to further redistribute wealth upwards rather than to improve living conditions for ordinary people.

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