Ambivalence about the Congressional Vote for the Not-a-Bailout
October 4, 2008 2 Comments
Credit is unquestionably tight right now. Individual stock portfolios are in the pits—seemingly bottomless pits. The faux buoyancy of our politicians has evaporated (except Sarah Palin’s buoyancy, which seems anything but faux and far from slipping). Nobody knows whether the $700 billion “bailout” will accomplish much, or even whether it is a bailout or something else.
And I do mean nobody. Nobody has effectively explained how this infusion of government cash is supposed to help the situation. On the other hand, nobody has effectively explained how individual taxpayers could actually be hurt by the action that was taken.
But almost everybody has an opinion about the decisions made in Congress—being either emphatically for it or unequivocally against it. How can this be? What do so many people know and understand that completely evades me?
I’m ambivalent. But that statement has to be qualified, for two reasons. First, I’m not ambivalent about the “pork” or “earmarks” that were weaseled into the legislation. I hope we find out specific ingredients that have no real place in this bill-cum-law, and that we learn by name all those who “porked out.” I hope we find out before the election so we can vote on our representatives with real knowledge of their principles and behavior.
House Speaker Pelosi promises a “bright light of accountability” for greedy Wall Street denizens. But is she willing to shine the same bright light on the doings of Congress to get this bill passed? I’m skeptical. And I wonder if Pelosi herself could be in jeopardy in the November election.
Second, I believe the Fed, the Treasury, the President, and both houses of Congress acted precipitously and pumped hysteria into the atmosphere and needlessly panicked the rest of us. This resulted in self-fulfilling prophecy on fast forward. The market imploded. And we’ll all feel the reverberations of that. Maybe the government needed to step in, maybe not. But this was heavy-handed.
Finally, while I’m ambivalent the general action taken, I’m not indifferent. And if I knew more than I’ll ever know about what just went down, I probably wouldn’t be ambivalent at all.
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Source for “Helicopter Ben” sketch above: UrbanDigs.com