There seems to be so much worry among many in the electorate, and with good reason.
EVERYONE should see something incredibly fishy about a $700 billion bailout of an investment banking industry that must be completed before Congress goes to recess to run for another term.
Here are some things to think about, folks.
1. The Bush Administration is claiming they've been working on this bailout plan for months. If they thought this might happen months ago, then why is there suddenly the rush?
2. The investment banks that have gone down have obviously been going down for many months, if not years, and covering it up. Financial institutions don't simply go belly-up all of a sudden. Actions usually lead to such things.
3. If someone borrowed $1000 from you, and lost his wallet, would you lend that person another $1000, without making sure there is a likelihood that you'll get $2000 back?
4. We, the taxpayers, have already taken a huge hit from this. Hundreds of thousands of homes have been foreclosed upon, and all of our 401(k)s have been hit hard by this crisis. What logical sense does it make to hand these people even more money?
For the last 28 years, since Ronald Reagan took office as President, we have been treated to the spectacle of right wing-style government. The single most basic premise of right wing political discourse is that government is too incompetent to do anything so, therefore, they can't be trusted to regulate anything. Therefore, regulation after regulation has been eliminated from the books, and governments which have historically been anti-regulation have been regulating the markets.
So, what are Democrats being asked to go along with right now?
They're supposed to hand more than $2000 for every man, woman and child to a lame-duck administration, and a lame-duck Treasury Secretary, to hand out according to a THREE PAGE PLAN, to people who have been ripping us off for the last 9 years, no questions asked. This, 41 days before an election they will likely lose in a big way.
Are they fricking NUTS??
We're not talking about $700 million, folks. If that would fix the problem, you'd hear nary a peep from me. But we're talking about $700 BILLION! Once more, that is over $2000 for every man, woman and child, in ADDITION to the money you've already lost in this mess.
Let me put it this way. I love Barack Obama, I plan to vote for Barack Obama, and I think Barack Obama will be the best thing to happen to the presidency in many years. But if HE was asking for $700 BILLION by Friday, I would withdraw my support and ask him if he'd lost his mind.
Let me explain something here; this problem needs to be addressed, but it doesn't have to be addressed with a full $700 billion commitment immediately. It took a long time to get into this mess, and it will take years, and a hell of a lot more than 3 pages of plan, to get us out of it. All the markets have to know is that there is a commitment on the part of the government to solve this problem, and they'll settle.
Here's what Congress should do.
Find out how much these banks will need to make it through the next six months, but find out from someone not in the Bush Administration. A non-partisan body would be good. Then appropriate enough to get them through the rough patch.
Then, instead of bailing out a bunch of companies that screwed the pooch for this entire decade, appropriate money that banks can use to bail out the mortgagees. We have to stem the tide of foreclosures, and keep as many people in homes as possible. For people who were victims of this mess, we should help banks write new mortgages for the actual worth of their homes, and bail out individuals who borrowed money against equity that didn't actually exist because of the fraud. There is precedent for this; Roosevelt created an agency that performed this same function as part of the New Deal. We simply cannot hand over $700 BILLION of OUR tax money to private companies, without making sure taxpayers get the bulk of the benefit. The people who ran these investment houses into the ground are living high on the hog, and they're asking us for more money, while leaving us with the pig slop.
Why is the Bush Administration even attempting this right now? Do they really think the American people are stupid?
The easy answer is that they're profoundly arrogant and stupid, but I think this smacks more of political desperation than anything. The fact that they have apparently been working on a plan for months, and sprung this on us about 6 weeks before the election has all the odor of an "October Surprise."
It's possible Bush is attempting this to save his legacy. This is, by far, the biggest screw-up in an eight year series of screw-ups, and he may think he can just ask for the money, it'll fix the system, and history will blame the next president when it fails, which it will, in the plan's current form.
But more than likely, this is an attempt to "trap" Democrats into a no-win situation; a last-ditch and futile effort to give people a reason to vote for McCain. In the Bush/Rove right wing mindset, perhaps they're thinking the Democrats will just go along this time, and pass it as is. The idea might be, if the plan works, then Bush looks like a genius, and make the Democrats look bad for not thinking of it first.
But the Paulson plan won't be passed, as is; it's too big. Which means the Democrats (again, this is right wing thinking, not rational thinking) will get the blame if they pass it and it fails. The reason I think this is the more likely possibility is because of Section 8 of Paulson's plan, which essentially forbade any sort of review by a court, or anyone else. A Constitutional lawyer could answer this better, but I'm pretty sure such a clause would be illegal. The courts have a constitutional duty to review all laws for constitutionality, anyway, so to pass the plan as is, would probably result in the law being struck down, anyway. So, it's a law destined for failure, being presented by the party likely to lose the next election, just six weeks before that election. It doesn't pass the smell test.
Here's the deal, Democrats; don't pass this. Pass a far smaller emergency measure equal to no more than 10% of the amount asked for. Then, go run for office, let the election happen, and when you get back with the newly elected Congress, work out a good bill that will bail out mortgage holders, and not the crooks who caused all of these problems.