The next paragraph is clearly an expressed opinion. As much as Karl may not like it, I’m entitled to it, and it sure as hell has no “utter falsehood” component:

The economy as we knew it died that day — and virtually no one objected. As Michelle Malkin wrote: “If you don’t feel like throwing up today, you’re not paying attention.”

I wrote that paragraph because in my view (which Michelle at least generally shared) what happened three years ago on October 14 represented a pivotal turning point for the worse in our economic history:

  • It was, as far as I know, the first instance, and certainly the first on such a large scale, where the government deliberately and under threat of force took effective ownership and control of an entire industry sector, not just its failures.
  • It directly defied the clearly understood intent (and, I would argue, the hardwired provisions) of the TARP law passed only eleven days earlier.
  • It was greeted with near silence by the political class, the press which knew how different Paulson’s actions were from the law’s intent, and the public at large.

The fact that the large majority of TARP funding has been repaid hardly represents an exoneration of what Paulson did. His action — again, I must emphasize, “with President George W. Bush’s shameful capitalism-betraying acquiescence” — gave cover to all manner of subsequent longer-lasting government moves towards tyranny (“arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority”), including but by no means limited to the use of TARP funds to bail out General Motors and Chrysler (which Congress, at least publicly, never originally intended), while arbitrarily and extralegally divvying up the spoils; the government’s outright takeover of student loans; the Dodd-Frank legislation, which, as I wrote in the run-up to its passage, is a massive power grab giving the government nearly unquestioned power to shut down any financial institution any time it likes; and pervasive regulatory overreach like we haven’t seen since the economically depressed 1930s.

The final paragraph with which Denninger takes issue is also the column’s finale:

Even beyond what we can see with regulations gone wild, failed stimulus, and outright corruption, our government’s authoritarian overhang and its destructive psychological effect on business and investor behavior largely explain why the economy won’t acceptably grow.

Denninger wrathfully writes: “If you believe one word of that paragraph you’re dumber than a box of rocks.”

Rock on this, Karl: It sure as hell isn’t an “utter falsehood” — and for heaven’s sake, please note that in my view the government influences cited “largely explain” why the economy won’t grow — not by any stretch exclusively, or even nearly exclusively. Plenty of individuals, businesses, government institutions, politicians, and government officials — including Hank Paulson, both before and during his Treasury tenure — are deserving of properly allocated blame for the conditions which led to our currently stuck in neutral (at best) economy. The column was about how the legislated TARP was not the Paulson-executed TARP, and how the Paulson-executed TARP was a tragic, possibly point-of-no-return authoritarian first.

Thus, the column contains no “utter falsehoods.” I try my damnedest not to write ‘em, and I can attest from experience that the editors at PJM try their damnedest to prevent ‘em from getting published.

Karl Denninger owes us — myself and PJ Media — nothing short of an unconditional apology. The proper words are: “I was wrong. I am sorry. I will appropriately retract.” Period. From my standpoint, there’s no chance of any kind of dialog about the rest of the content at your post — which might otherwise be quite worthy of discussion — until I get one.