I'm not sure what to make of the current or impending economic crisis. There are a lot of strange things going on. For example, the original plan (from last week) was drafted by Bush and the appropriate Cabinet members. This is the plan that was somewhat modified over last weekend, and pushed strongly by the Democrats. So, a plan crafted by Bush, who most Democrats regard as slow and stupid, was brilliant enough that Pelosi pushed to pass it. Strange bedfellows indeed.
Apparently, there is quite a lot of blame that can be doled out here, on both sides of the aisle. Yet one of the most vociferous voices in the fight so far has been that of Barney Frank, founding member of the Lollipop Guild, and also quite obviously at the heart of why FannieMae and FreddieMac went belly up. What's up with that? Have you no shame, sir?
When the original plan came out, it needed to be passed urgently, or the sky would fall and dogs and cats would start living together. Yet, for some reason Harry Reid attached a rider about discontinuing drilling for shale oil. What did that have to do with the bailout? If the sky is really falling, why don't you act like it? This was the same Harry Reid who said "we don't know what to do" and called on McCain (not Obama) for leadership on the issue.
I'm not sure about McCain's trip to DC last week--stunt or theater? Of course he has been accused of politicizing the process, although there are widely conflicting reports about what happened at that White House meeting (the one that they had to drag Obama back to DC for). Yet prior to the crucial vote on the House floor yesterday, Pelosi found it prudent to belch up a partisan rant against the Republicans and the Bush Administration (right--the one that came up with the original plan). Not exactly the kind of sober leadership that one looks for when the sky is falling. And she wasn't even able to convince all of the members of her own party to vote for the package; 40% of House Dems voted against. 40%.
Here's what I don't understand: When Republicans have control of Congress, it is Republicans' fault for not passing legislation to stave off economic trouble. When Democrats have control of Congress, it is Republicans' fault for not passing the bailout.
I don't know what to think here about this mess. It's not about the failure of the free market, because FannieMae and FreddieMac being government sponsored entities (kind of like the Post Office) were anything but free. Does that mean there was too much regulation? Not necessarily. Too little regulation? Maybe. I don't think it's about regulation; I think it's more about the law of unintended consequences (trying to provide more home loans to minorities and poor folks pushed banks heavily into sub-prime lending). I don't think there has been enough strong leadership from either side (including McCain and Obama, the current leaders of their respective parties). The failed bailout plan has been described as a crap sandwich without the bread. Too much extra stuff, like prohibitions on shale oil drilling; like money going back to ACORN and other controversial entitities; like the Treasury Secretary not having to answer to anyone at all.
We can do better. They need to all get out of their political uniforms and hammer something out that doesn't screw the taxpayer (no one wants their money going to fund someone's golden parachute). They can do this; they have to.
After all, the sky is falling, right?
UPDATE:n As of about 11:30 AM, the Dow is up about 230 points. So even in the absence of the bailout bill that is imperative to keep Armageddon from happening, the markets are calming themselves, and, it seems, recovering. Huh?
All fear - "Whoever can see through all fear will always be safe," says Lao Tsu in Tao Te Ching. This has been my quote for the past year, helping me get centered and...
1 year ago