The emotion of the moment was anticipated

The WSJ is wondering if it is A Smoot-Hawley Moment? Congress on AIG and banks: ‘Oppressive, unjust and tyrannical.’ The question is about whether an emotional knee jerk response that has its own problems is also slipping a disaster like the Smoot-Hawley tariff act in 1930 in under its cover.

Congress’s willingness to wreak such vengeance against a specific class of Americans is still as offensive as a matter of principle as Justice Washington and the Federalist Papers noted. The Founders feared the punitive whim of the legislative mob as much as they did the tyranny of a King.

The question for the moment is whether the inefficiencies in the governance process will be sufficient to dampen the emotions and allow reason and knowledge to surface and temper irrational action.

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