There is an apex, an apogee, a point of no return, a point when many will throw up their hands. It is indeed difficult to ask for blind faith as a Bush administration appointee, and even more faith is required to believe a Bush appointee.
The current economic meltdown leaves us with only unpleasant choices. Hardly a rock can be thrown on Wall Street without hitting a villain. Devils are everywhere and angels are few, but what’s to be done? The choices are, an expensive bailout or to do nothing.
The academics, the Bush administration, and the Democrats in Congress are working diligently to craft a bailout package. Like the abortion issue, no one is in favor of doing this but this is the best of bad choices. There is no guarantee that it will work or even slow the contagion.
John McCain, Newt Gingrich and the conservatives in Congress decry the bailout package. Numerous are their reasons, philosophical, moral, the bastardization of Capitalism. Calling it Nationalization and the Republican talking point of "A Christmas Tree" for the Democrats. The same crowd that for twenty years has been telling us to let the markets work without government regulation now tell us that it's wrong to try and put out the fire. In a perverse way you have to admire their dedication to principle. Even as their philosophy lies in ruins around them, still they drive headlong towards the cliff with their foot to the floor on the accelerator.
Even when they’ve been proven wrong they won’t change direction, and it would be understandable if we just smiled and waved as they whizzed by us, but. . . They carry with them the lives and futures of tens of millions of Americans. The elderly who have worked their whole lives for a decent retirement go over the cliff with them. The college student looking for student loans need look no further than that truck heading at high speed towards the cliff. The struggling middle class will look back fondly at hurricane Katrina as a spring shower compared to letting the Republicans drive the bailout over the cliff.
It should be fully understood that the damage is done; we’ve seen the lightening and now the thunder is coming. We’ve hit the iceberg and our economic Zeppelin is approaching the mooring mast. Still John McCain offers only finger pointing and more of the same. Even this week McCain is still pushing the privatization of Social Security and the firing of Chris Cox as head of the SEC. Cox, a conservative California Republican, has become McCain’s primary villain, along with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. McCain and the Republicans need scapegoats, otherwise the public might begin to realize that the bankruptcy of the Republican philosophy has lead to the bankruptcy of the nation's economy.
The one trillion-dollar bailout will be paid for with borrowed money, financed primarily by the Chinese. What happens if the Republicans have their way? Estimates have predicted the Dow would drop to 8,300. The dollar would fall on the anticipated economic slowdown, conversely oil being traded in dollars would rise and compound the misery. Unemployment would soar, and due to the failure of credit, auto financing would cease to exist. Banks would begin to fail in a domino effect. Washington Mutual has $120 billion in insured depositor assets and the FDIC is reported to have only $49 billion in funds to pay the claims in a WaMu failure. Then the government would have to come up with a rescue package for the FDIC. Meanwhile, what happens to bank confidence nationwide? Millions of the unemployed will prompt millions more home loans into default, souring and creating a vortex of financial loss worldwide.
If our economy tanks, what will happen to the Chinese economy, and the Japanese economy? The Saudi economy, the Korean economy? Who will then buy our treasury bills? Who will fund our bailout of the FDIC? Where will it end? The bailout is a terrible solution but the alternative is unthinkable. Unless, that is, unless you are a cynical conservative politician. If the bailout fails, and fail it might, they can thump their chests and say, "I told you so! I told you it wouldn’t work so you shouldn’t even try! Let the millions of hardworking Americans go into the tank, suckers! We must let our free markets work."
The Republicans, led by John McCain, with their country-first slogan are cynically betting against America. While Obama offers "Yes, we can," Republicans offer, no, you can’t, that won’t work. Let’s not waste the fire extinguishers trying to put out the fire, let’s do nothing and just let the fire burn itself out. It's an absolute abdication of their duty and their oath, while finger pointing, game playing and name calling in a time of national crisis. Fox News, the voice of idiots everywhere, offers, "That’s all we need is for Barney Frank or Nancy Pelosi to say something stupid!"
Excuse me, but I’ll take a bad fireman over a good spectator any day. Yesterday Hillary Clinton made the rounds on all the financial channels, suggesting a most amazing program. With shovel and spade in hand she suggested that we resurrect the ghost of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and institute FDR’s mortgage rescue administration. To conservatives this has the same effect as showing a crucifix to a vampire. They rail, "Big government won’t work" as they back up into the shadows. You’ll be sorry, you wait and see! It’s Socialism; they’re going to take your freedom away!
They despise Roosevelt. He picked up the pieces the last time the Republicans said, "Let the markets work, government regulation will slow growth." Despise him they should for FDR drove a wooden stake through the heart of Republican vampirism for almost half a century. Until Ronald Wilson Reagan (666) pulled that stake back out.
Fifty years that saw an unprecedented rise in American middle class prosperity and educational opportunities. The elderly went from the poorest demographic, when FDR assumed the Presidency to the wealthiest when Reagan assumed the Presidency. At the end of WW2, Republicans called for massive tax cuts while Truman offered instead a GI Bill, a complete ride for the veterans, college, trade schools, full tuition, tools, books, the works. John McCain calls that pork barrel spending, too expensive when what we need are tax cuts.
The bailout gives us no certainty, only a chance and a very slim chance at that. The Republicans and Wall Street have danced to the devil's tune and now the piper must be paid. The same dues that the greatest generation had to pay the last time Republicans drove the economy off the cliff and it wasn’t until they had passed away that Republicans could start again. That is precisely what the McCains and Shelbys and Gingrichs are trying to do, let the economy go off the cliff just so they can say, "I told you so." To duck responsibility and avoid blame, to give hosanna’s to market successes and all blame to government for the failures, ignoring that the government is all that’s left to pick up the pieces when the "free markets" fail. Maybe government doesn’t always work best but at least it doesn’t quit. Or stand in the shadows throwing rocks for their own personal cynical reasons. It’s easy to be a patriot on sunny, summer Sundays; to wear a flag pin on your lapel and have a tear in your eye when an emotional song plays.
But give me the patriot who puts their shoulder to the wheel, doing their best to save the very people who would never vote for them. To hold the line when the sh*t hits the fan and while the so-called experts and the idiot brigade stand in the shadows shouting, "That won’t work!"