There is an axis of incompetence that runs from New York to Washington, from Wall Street to the White House. All they know how to manage are elections.

The administrators, bankers and consultants who, along with the generals and diplomats, handle the affairs of state have bungled everything given into their hands. They mismanaged the war in Iraq; they mismanaged the response to Katrina; they mismanaged the mortgage business; and now we know they mismanaged the investment business.

I predict that, in the years ahead, we will discover that other elements of our national affairs are hopelessly crippled and corrupt. Tuesday, the FBI announced that they have launched criminal investigations into 24 financial institutions. Who is surprised?

Tuesday these same men came before elected representatives of the people. They described in dire terms the economic threat facing the world. They presented a plan to bail out these under-investigation companies. They warned the senators: “Unless you do what we say, recession is certain.

Do you believe them?

Why should we put any confidence in what they say and the proposals they make?

Even if we concur with their diagnosis, why would we trust them to manage this international economic crisis?

Think about the war. White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey, in a September 2002 interview with the Wall Street Journal, estimated the war in Iraq would cost $100 billion to $200 billion. He argued the cost was small in comparison to the Gross National Product, adding, “The successful prosecution of the war would be good for the economy.”

Most estimates now put the cost of our “shock and awe” at one trillion dollars. Dollar estimates do not include the tragic displacement and disabling of millions of people or the enormous damage our policy has done to American influence in the world (to say nothing of relations between Christians and Muslims ”but that is another day’s blog).

Give us representatives who will not be stampeded into surrendering their responsibility to think for themselves and serve all of us. And give us a leader ”Democrat or Republican or Independent ”who will stand up to these “experts” and call their bluff ”he will be the next president of the United States.

Dwight Moody is a writer, preacher and professor living in Lexington, Ky. This column appeared previously on his blog.

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