(First Trust) -- Back in 2008, rather than fix mark-to-market accounting, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, Federal Reserve Board Chair Ben Bernanke, and other members of the financial market crisis team, chose to use a government-funded bazooka. A $700 billion bank bailout named The Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.
President Bush, who authorized this approach, later explained it by saying he "abandoned free market principles to save the free market." That statement makes no sense. Either you believe in free markets, or you don't. Violating a free market means it's not free. More truthfully, the Bush team abandoned free markets because it was the politically expedient thing to do.
But, by doing this, Republican leadership undermined a sacrosanct belief of conservatism – markets are self-healing and government intervention creates unintended consequences. Abandoning this philosophy left voters literally adrift. Politics is just politics. The GOP ship has no anchor or rudder. Why vote for a philosophy if those who claim to support it do so only when it is convenient? The result: Donald Trump.
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