So, now Congress has to do what the American people say they want done instead of doing what the politicians think we need. This is perplexing for them, I'm sure.
The people say they don’t want a bailout, and for good reasons. It doesn’t mean the people don’t want solutions, however. Of course, we want solutions. Save a few scattered nihilists fiddling on the roof tops, most are concerned for themselves, their families, and their neighbors. Very concerned. Most of us have been affected by the obvious economic problems long before Washington decided to be surprised by the problems—our concern has been mounting for some time. We see that we have a critical problem that requires possibly radical solutions. And it is evident that some decisions need to be made quickly.
However, this financial crisis has morphed into an “all or nothing” scenario, where the Administration’s arbitrary “$700 billion bailout” (the number was pulled out of thin air as a starting point) has become the ‘all’ and every other thoughtful and potentially effective idea is the ‘nothing’.
It has been nearly two weeks since Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson descended on the leadership with proclamations of eminent doom. ‘Act now or tomorrow will see the apocalypse’ was and continues to be their mantra.
Well, tomorrow just keeps on coming, and all of this time has been wasted on attempts to repackage the same proposal, glossing over the same rotten core with hastily considered, distracting attachments. You would think that, with two weeks of work, they could present some real answers; for instance, exactly how much of a mark-up does the U.S. intend on paying for these toxic make-believe bonds that are remotely anchored to depreciating mortgages? Is that on top of the SEC’s sudden extended leniency on mark-to-market rules (“okay, you can lie this much, but no more!”)? Surely, in two weeks of such diligent research, they now know who they intend to shore up and can present that plan. Right?
Maybe that’s why they are in a hurry to push this through. It’s not the unavoidable market crash or the end of the fiscal year’s requisite fire and brimstone; it’s the fact that with every passing minute, more and more of the population is understanding what is happening. They are asking many questions and those who ask will generally find the answers. The answers aren’t sitting well with the voters. Every day that steals past tomorrow’s apocalypse empowers the people even more.
Congress is putting in long hours arguing about what color bow to put on their inflationary bomb in a box. The Senate may as well be the gift-wrapping counter at Macy’s… Maybe some of those curly ribbons, a little name tag...no, wait...a name tag with glitter! Tuck in the folds for that seamless effect. Ooooh! Shiny bells! The Senate presents the shiny box again Wednesday night.
If the Senate and the House leadership had the common sense of horse flies, or at least the integrity of horseflies, they would scuttle the “$700 billion dollar bailout” and never utter those words again. They would acknowledge that they were doing so because the people flatly rejected the idea, instead of trying to harvest bi-partisan intrigue where there is none. Then they would sit down and parcel out our “bailouts” measure by measure instead of creating a behemoth spending bill with minimal oversight. The Treasury needs another $100 billion for banks? Then come to the floor and present your case. We will consider it along with many other proposals that would actually nourish and rebuild our economy on solid productive grounds. Proposals to shore up favored corporations, in spite of their own complicity in this crisis, will be moved to the bottom of the cue. Congress might have to work through the holidays addressing one problem at a time, instead of absolving themselves of their lawful duty to provide diligent oversight of the people’s money by handing the Fed our purse. They can earn their keep for once. After all, as the people’s Congress, they are either with us or against us. See how that works?
All debt is tax, tax with interest, and we tend to be a sensitive lot when it comes to taxation without representation. Half of the House decided to represent our interests in this massive taxation plan. They know that the return on investment is improbable. The remaining Representatives, the “Aye” votes, are just tax collectors with a nice cut of the action. The bailout plan continues to be horribly flawed; the Senate and House’s posturing is purposeless and vain.
People need to maintain the unity they had in striking down this plan. Call your Senators and Representatives and keep hammering away. You must demand that Congress engage in an earnest and honest effort in problem-solving this massive correction, fairly and wisely, with open hearings and uncensored testimony. Tell them that we know that we must shape solutions to these problems rapidly, but we once again affirm that we do not believe this bailout is a solution. We do not want to hear about a “$700 billion bailout” plan anymore. It has been defeated and if they pass it in spite of the explicit dissent of the voters in their States and Districts, the predictable failure of the Administration’s plan will not serve as their alibi.
When they come to you after a major market seizure and present their specious logic of “See how bad it is? This wouldn’t have happened had we passed the bailout”, you can respond, “We told you ‘no bailout’ two weeks ago. What have you been doing since then?”