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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bailout Bust: Bad Medicine, But Necessary?

While Pat Powers breaks his shoehorn trying to fit yesterday's bailout blowout into his partisan worldview (sit down, Karl Rove: some people are actually trying to solve a problem), Ken Blanchard at South Dakota Politics offers a wonderfully non-partisan, sensible explanation of why the House voted no yesterday:

Why did it fail? The answer to that is simple: the United States is a Republic. One Congressman observed that the mail and calls coming in were a thousand to one against. When the Vox Populi is that loud and clear, it is very hard for our representatives to ignore it.

Why was the bill so unpopular with the Populi? The answer seems to be that it was widely perceived as an enormous expenditure of public money, which it probably wasn't, on behalf of a bunch of fat, greedy, money changers, which it was [Ken Blanchard, "Gray Monday," South Dakota Politics, 2008.09.29].

I'm still trying to figure out which is the greater courage: to face down the dire warnings of calamity and stand against bad legislation (we could've used more of that spirit seven years ago against the Patriot Act) or to vote for unpopular yet necessary legislation. (Readers, care to help me sort that out?)

Even in the face of great public opposition, Congress and the Administration may still need to bite the bullet and take serious action. As Blanchard notes, if there is a financial disaster brewing (and Wall Street, both Presidential candidates, and most of Congress are hollering that there is), it doesn't matter if we don't like the greedy scumbags who started it. Something's got to be done...

...although I am curious: how much longer can Washington delay before someone looks up and says, "Hey! We've waited a week/ten days/two weeks/a month, and the world hasn't ended yet"?


  1. Cory:

    DO you think that the phone calls running 1000 to 1 against are going to change?

    I think not!

    We need to pass some serious regulation reforms, but let the chips fall and let the recession happen. We are bankrupting our future. Reaganonomics ran up our national debt and no one ever figured out that the system was flawed.

    Our own overwhelming greed has gotten us where we are today.

  2. I've heard this called an economic crisis. I have no reason to doubt that.

    But must we act on it so quickly? Does Congress need to pass emergency legislation so badly, that we'll be stuck with a bad bill?

    What's wrong with taking a more deliberate approach? And if some more of these big finance companies have trouble in the meantime, shouldn't they suffer as a result of their risky investments?

  3. Don't blame this on Reaganomics. It lies directly at the feet of Carter who started with the Community Reinvestment Act (I can't remember the exact name of the thing) where banks were mandated to make loans to people who were risky and clearly didn't qualify for said loans. This was continued thru Clinton's years. It was said yesterday this is a direct result of the bad housing industry, and that lies at the feet of this bill. People were so happy at the time that they qualified for housing that they never thought they could afford; I can remember an interview with a lady that said exactly that at the time. The problem is that they really COULD NOT afford these mortgages, and now the chickens are coming home to roost.

    Now there is a mess. The problem is that no one knows whether the problem will solve itself or not without a gov't bailout. Heck, even the members of Congress don't know. If they did, they would come out and forcefully tell their constituents one way or the other, which most of them aren't doing. Many of them are rightly listening to their constituents, and many of them are listening to Pelosi and their political future winds, and many of them think the bailout is necessary. It's basically a mess.

    But the Republicans were warning of this years ago, and attempts to fix things were blocked by the Dems. Those votes and congressional speeches are on record if you don't believe me.

    That said, something probably needs to be done in a bipartisan way. And maybe something would have been done if Pelosi didn't speak in such a partisan and hateful way yesterday before the vote. At least she did delay action with that speech, and maybe that will be a good thing if Congress takes this hiatus to really look at and think about a bill.

    My solution:
    Fire all the head honcho CEO's of these failed companies, take back all the millions they made and put it back into the companies to maybe make them a little more solvent, put those crooks in jail.
    Then fire all the congressional people who were aware of this and refused to take action to avert this years ago. Follow the money that Freddie and Fannie paid to Congressional people and make them repay that money (kickbacks) to the gov't to help repay this bailout if it goes thru, or back to F&F to make them more solvent. (This was bipartisan BTW and seems to have bought a lot of silence on the part of the recipients!)
    Then break up these monopolies like Freddie and Fanny.
    Make a law that mortgages are not securities.
    And fix the law so that people have to prove they can afford a mortgage before a bank gives them one.

    Housing is a privilege, it's not a right guaranteed by our constitution. If you can afford a house, you buy one. If you can't, you don't. Simple.

    And if you do pass this bailout, ALL profits need to go back to the federal gov't to repay the loan. None of that repayment is to be used for anything else.

  4. anon 9:08 why stopped with firing the crooked CEO's we should fire all of the congress people also. There should be about 85 turn over in Congress after this debacle and they should be replace with 3rd party candidates for once. That would send a real message. Vote for you 3rd party/ independant candidate of your choice. Also, Bob Barr for President would send a nice message.


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