The Washington Times - September 19, 2008, 12:40PM

The White House said on Friday that the economic markets must be able to function smoothly, in answer to criticisms that their interventions are transgressing free market principles.

“I think smoothly functioning markets are essential to a free market economy,” said Keith Hennessy, the president’s economic adviser, at a press briefing, when he was asked about concerns among some lawmakers and economists.


“We’re intervening in a very decisive way to restore confidence that is needed in those markets so they can function properly again.”

Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, was quoted in the Los Angeles Times today as saying he was “deeply concerned” about the government’s plan to buy up to half a trillion dollars in bad debt to keep it from dragging down the economy.

“‘What is missing from it and from the recent string of bailouts is a commitment to return to a free enterprise economy,” Mr. DeMint said in the article.

“What we need now is not what could be nearly a trillion dollars in new taxpayer bailouts but pro-growth policies that allow our markets to correct and start growing again,” the article had him quoted.

Mr. Hennessy, however, said that “the consequences of inaction here were crystal clear and were far worse … than any concerns about the significance of the action.”

-Jon Ward , White House reporter.