THINGS on the financial front are going a bit awry. And the government is looking bad. The National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue, therefore, has summoned the usual suspects, the previous regime, to appear before it and give certain explanations. These include the former Prime Minister, his principal finance advisor and the Ministers of State for the said ministry. Saying that the incumbent government is absolving itself of all responsibility would be a cheap shot. All public policy issues, from law and order to irrigation, can have ripple effects till many years later. But the national economy is a sector where decisions really do go a long way. It would be reckless, therefore, to pin the current muck on the coalition. The argument that the same policies are, more or less, being continued, however, would ring true. As one of the named, former Minister of State for Finance, Omar Ayub Khan, has asked in a public reply letter, if the prior economic management was so awful, why has nothing changed in the team, "from Secretary to Section Officer"? And it is not just the trained civil service or the economists who have remained unchanged, but even the political leadership remains the same in one case; one of the people named was the erstwhile Minister of State for Economic Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar, now the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Economic Affairs. The process of bringing the previous team to task must be undertaken, but one should go the whole nine yards; even we can bring over the ex-PM, then why not the former President as well? And thus would open a can of worms since it is not just the economy he should be asked about. The sequence of recent events have skewed the way the public looks at the current financial crisis. What with the US bailout plan, there is a feeling that our crisis resembles the one in the US. But it doesn't, really. Theirs is a crisis of the general economy itself, of insecurity in the financial markets; ours, that of limited governmental fiscal space. Their government needs money to pump more equity into the financial markets, our government needs money because, well, it needs money. With a previous regime not too truthful about financial statistics like growth and fiscal deficits, this is the time for some retribution. Mr Tarin's criticism, however, doesn't stop at the previous regime but extends to his own as well: he is critical of the 2008-9 budget as well. Let us hope there is some more objective sanity in this dispensation to avoid more recklessness.