As regular readers of this blog know, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari has spent his days since not being elected governor of California three-and-a-half years ago in three ways, basically: blogging, dissenting and thinking things over in rustic northerly lodges while chopping cord after cord of firewood. Mostly, he thinks about his role as George W. Bush’s chief bailout officer, not only because it’s one of two primary reasons he’s not currently governor of California (the other is that he’s nominally a Republican), but also because of the way the world he helped create turned out. Now, he’s not exactly saying he would do everything differently is given a do-over, but, well, he’s kind of saying that after a bit of self-defending throat-clearing.
“The bailouts, while the right thing to do at the time, violated a core American belief: if you take a risk, you bear the consequences,” Mr. Kashkari said in an interview last month. “A lot of political division we experience is still a byproduct of the financial crisis and the fundamental unfairness….”
“I went into the Bush administration considering myself a free market person,” Mr. Kashkari said. Now, “free markets are still preferred, but markets can make mistakes, sometimes large, costly ones. We do need some regulation to protect against free market excesses such as those that lead to financial crises.”