What Others Are Saying

October 17, 2007

Fidel Castro, who's been ill and out of sight recently, reappeared this weekend after Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez called him the "father of all revolutionaries." Mr. Castro said he was touched. But he should really thank an uncompromising Washington government, administration after administration, for maintaining his reputation 18 years after the Cold War ended. If the U.S. had ever embraced him, he'd be just another tinhorn dictator.

- Newsday (New York)

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. helped broker a deal over the weekend that might help prevent a recession - Mr. Paulson and the Treasury Department coaxed a consortium of Wall Street banks to patch up a broken piece of the debt market.

The $100 billion fund the banks are creating will act as a buyer of last resort for mortgage-backed securities whose markets have cratered because so many of the underlying mortgages are in foreclosure or at risk of it. The fund will help major holders of those securities offload their troubled investments without dumping them onto the markets all at once. A dump could set off ripple effects that threaten the economy as a whole.

Mr. Paulson, the former head of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., might be faulted for bailing out major players such as Citigroup, which Monday reported a 57 percent drop in earnings during its third quarter. But it is better to do that than to risk making the credit crunch worse. And it's a strictly private-sector solution. Give Mr. Paulson credit for facilitating this deal.

- The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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