In praise of Will Hutton


No, I agree, not what you expect  to see here, a piece praising Will Hutton, he of the government should regulate and intervene everywhere shtick. But sometimes it is neceessary to praise those you disagree with, as I am now doing with Will Hutton.

We are looking disaster in the face. A British version of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must be created now. Legislation to create a Gordon Mac should be introduced before the summer recess.

An interesting idea floated on 22 June 2008. Then we had Paul Krugman on July 14 2008 saying that the two FM's were in fact part of the cause of the problems. Specifically that their public/private role was a problem. On July 15 that year, James Hamilton thinks they're a problem. On the 16th, Larry Summers says that "one hopes that we are now witnessing the end of this particular experiment in creative capitalism".

And on Christmas Eve the news was floated out that:

The U.S. Treasury Department will remove the caps on aid to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the next three years, to allay investor concerns that the companies will exhaust the available government assistance.

Yes, that's right, they not only went bust they now have (something which the commercial banks do not have) unlimited taxpayer support. Oh, and their senior management is still getting bonuses: $6 million this year.

Without Will Hutton where would we be? How would we know what not to do if he were not there to guide us?

Thus praise is due to Will Hutton. As with the recent comment about Polly Toynbee from Fraser Nelson: every compass needs its butt end.