To coin a phrase from our dear doltish McCain, I don’t know much about the economy. The fun thing is, that most nobody else does either, so you can have a serious and intellectual discussion about it with nobody knowing the difference.
As you all know, we are in the midst of a crisis in banking, brought on we are told by greedy practices by everybody involved. All were trying to make a buck the easy way, and well, it caught up with itself and has thrown the US economy followers into a panic and the average person wonders how this will all impact him and her.
Now we are engaged in whom to blame, with of course the Administration and all things Republican, wanting to blame to fall squarely on “greedy Wall Street operatives,” and Democrats offering up Bush/McCain and most all the rest of the Republican party as scapegoats. Congress is to blame, or not, depending on whom you talk to. Deregulation seems the main culprit which allowed the shifty-eyed speculators play this giant shill game on the US. Apparently nobody could see this coming. Or everybody did. As I said, it depends on who is talking.
This causes us all to feel mighty uncomfortable, as various political faces tell us any given thing on any given day. Flip flopping has become the norm, with McCain pretzeling himself almost daily. The economy is “fundamentally strong,” or in crisis; not a depression, but a definite recession. Obama is certainly to blame for all of it, or Secretary of the SEC, Cox is. He should be fired, oops, asked to resign, or as McCain’s latest pronouncement: “Believe me, I may not be able to fire him, but if I want some body out, you can be sure they will be resigning!” Tough talk there old guy. Oddly, nobody seems to agree that Cox has had much of anything to do with our troubles.
Obama takes a more measured stance, and has carefully refrained from issuing edicts of what should be done. He has actual real advisers, and so knows that this is not a time for panic ridden “tough” talk that is largely meaningless and but contributes to the general anxiety that now exists.
What is most troubling is this. Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury, has apparently decided, after days of back and forth rhetoric, that a massive bailout is in order. And what’s more, he says it must be done immediately, without debate or delay. Our very existence some how is at stake. The troubling thing is that nobody tells us what the catastrophe will be if we don’t do as he said. Plenty have been asked, from Paulson on down to various senators and representatives who were at the late evening meeting where all this was laid out.
Somehow, all we can get is that the scenario painted is “bad.” So bad in fact, that nobody will give the details, but all say, that it was “bad.” And we have to act now, and we must be bipartisan in this. Trust us, it’s “bad.” We want to protect you, fine citizen, just know that it is “bad.” We have your best interests in mind, this is not for the banks, this is to protect your pensions and 401K’s and all that. We don’t give a rat’s ass about the golden parachutes of the CEO’s. Oh by the way, we aren’t gonna take that away from them, but we feel your pain and we agree, they are major f**k heads. Trust us, this is really “bad.”
Now I ask myself, have I heard this before? And it seems to be that I faintly recall all of this happening in another time and place. Let me see, it was the summer and fall of 2002, I believe. Yes, that’s it. It was some petty dictator, Sallam, Shadom, ohhh, right, Saddam. And he had weapons of mass destruction, now so well known as WMD’s. Not well known because we found any, but well known for being the reason ‘d etre for going to war. Hear that wafting sound of “hi ho hi ho it’s off to war we go?”
We, I think, recall how that went? It went into the terlot as Archie Bunker used to say. One big flush and down the crapper we all swirled, as the death toll mounted in horrifying numbers both for our military and the poor Iraqi civilians. And I recall, we couldn’t wait then, couldn’t discuss the options or the evidence. Just trust us they said, we have your best interests at heart, and by the way, it’s a tad unpatriotic to question us you know. Don’t you care if America is safe?
Trouble is, it was all about lies, tissues of lies (what exactly are tissues of lies?). There was strong evidence that there were no WMD’s and that junk about Saddam wanting to enrich uranium? Concocted out of whole cloth, just like the inferences of relationship to those Al Queda types. But we were good citizens and we couldn’t believe they would lie to us about stuff so important, stuff they would ask some of our young men and women to risk and ultimately give their lives for. But they did lie.
Around that same time, in the aftermath of 9/11, we were all in a panic. We were stunned, shocked, frightened, anxious and lots of other similar adjectives. Congress, truly must have been shaken, for no one knows where the plane that went down in Pennsylvania was headed. Congress or the White House, and either way, plenty of those government types figured they had gotten lucky.
And well, the President and his might band of defenders said we needed a “Patriot Act.” Catchy title wouldn’t you say? Not a good thing to be against such a act. The same people bring you lessening of restrictions on clean water and call it the opposite, the “Clean Water Bill.” They are some smart cookies there in Washington DC wouldn’t you say?
So, being patriotic and all, nobody much voted against the Patriot Act. It was essential, and after it’s passage, I can assure you, I sure felt safer, knowing that that piece of paper was flying high over America defending it against all bombs and hijacked planes and anthrax and all that bad stuff. The President told me again and again, that he needed it to keep me safe, and assured me it would never be used unlawfully to god forbid spy on me!
I was assured that this measure too could not tolerate discussion. It was needed and needed immediately. One hour too late and all could be lost to the mushroom cloud. And well, folks, we see what that got us. Yep, they and the telecommunications have this agreement you see. The president asks for records on my and your calls, and, oh you are gonna love this. Nobody gets to know. And, there is more. If, IF it should be declared at some time, that what they did was illegal, the telecom folksies have immunity! Yay, don’t you just love American? And judicial oversight? Who needs that? We’re all among friends right? The President has my best interest at heart, yes he told me that.
So, excuse me, Prez, Congress, and Treasury, I’m just not quite convinced here that I want to do all this again. You seem to have developed a track record that would make me kinda stupid if I did as you ask. No questions asked is not, I’m finding a good idea in regards to you guys. Well, what do you think America? Ready to give them carte blanche again? I’m not.
For a great article on the bailout see: Growing right-wing opposition to the Paulson Plan.