Millions of Americans, including your humble correspondent, have been hammered by the declining stock market. And once again, greed has caused the debacle. Many companies went on a lending spree, giving money to people who couldn't pay it back. That's what's behind the chaos.

In a capitalistic system, the government does not manage private companies. It can prosecute dishonesty but not stupidity. It's clear that greedy CEOs destroyed their own companies while they themselves walked away with huge money. Again, the government can't do much about that unless these greed-heads broke the law.

What politicians can do is provide oversight leadership and warnings. The Bush administration did not make it a priority to publicly warn the folks about the bad loan mania. They knew about it. The president could have done that. He did not. Mr. Bush also did not warn of higher gas prices either.

The Democratic Congress stood mute, including Barack Obama. The senator had 19 months to sound the alarm on both bad loans and boiling oil. He did not. In fact, Congressman Barney Frank, a rabid left-winger, presided over the debacle at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two powerful lending institutions that went belly up. Did you hear Frank warn anybody? I didn't. Freddie and Fannie even donated $85,000 to Barack Obama's campaign. That's interesting.

Now the presidential candidates are blaming each other. Monday, John McCain said this:


JOHN MCCAIN: The fundamentals of our economy are strong, but these are very, very difficult times. And I promise you we will never put America in this position again. We will clean up Wall Street.

BARACK OBAMA: We just woke up to news of financial disaster, and this morning he said that the fundamentals of the economy are still strong. Senator McCain, what economy are you talking about?


Well, you can decide which guy has the best take, but both guys need to be very specific when it comes to what they want to do to protect Americans from irresponsible corporations.

By the way, as I pointed out Monday, the price of oil has declined about 33 percent in two months. But the price of gas at the pump has declined seven percent. The oil companies strike again and nobody is watching them.

"Talking Points" believes most elected officials are clueless when it comes to running the economy. It is a complicated and dangerous area, and we need a president who is bold enough to manage it.

This current mini crisis will play itself out, but millions of Americans will get hurt in the process. All I want is for the president and Congress to be up front. When warning signs appear, our leaders should make them public so the folks know what the heck's going on.

Greed is not good. It is destructive. Greed caused this current chaos, and there was no Paul Revere in public office to alert us. The fault lies with both parties.

And that's "The Memo."

Pinheads & Patriots

Jennifer Lopez completed a grueling triathlon in Malibu in two hours, 23 minutes. The event raised more than $100,000 for an L.A. children's hospital, so Ms. Lopez is a patriot.

On the pinhead front, Lindsay Lohan is now a political scientist. Of course she is. She writes that Sarah Palin is a narrow-minded homophobe. Says Miss Lohan, "I cannot bite my tongue any longer."

Try. Pinhead.

You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads & Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com