A short comment on the economic bailout

So many bloggers and talking heads comment on big political issues that I have steered clear of them; believe me, I rant a-plenty in our living room! But in my lifetime only two other distinct events have stood out, at the time of occurrence, as of such great importance for the future. The first was the assassination of John F. Kennedy; the second was 9-11 (though most of the disaster that has followed it has been chosen and created by the Bush administration). And this is the third.

I’ll keep my comment short. Here’s the email I just sent to Nancy Pelosi.

Dear Madam Speaker,

My husband and I, lifelong Democrats, commend you for your courage and good judgment in standing against the bailout bill. I also heard your interview last Thursday on NPR and was well impressed with your arguments and articulate presentation. I wish we could vote for you.

But be assured that many out here agree with your position. I do not know if you share my belief, that our economic structure is not just tilted drastically in favor of big interests–everyone knows that–but is unsound at its core, based on speculation and unending growth that cannot continue. Hence a series of bubbles that burst. The citizen always gets hurt whether by mortgage foreclosures that can devastate a family for decades, or by inflation, paying for bailouts, increasing the national debt, and so on. The war may be a distraction, as one of its purposes, from all this.

There is no “free market” when the biggest players set the rules and then are bailed out when they break them. At this point in history a free market is neither desirable nor possible. Let’s start changing it to a market that benefits the majority of people (not just by providing low-wage jobs) and benefits the planet and our succeeding generations.



rural southern Oregon

3 thoughts on “A short comment on the economic bailout

  1. CNN much, yes. I did not express my complete thoughts about this, and am not sure what part you disagree with, but let me add that I am not opposed to any form of bailout: I am opposed to half-baked legislation being rushed through with threats that the sky will fall if everybody doesn’t vote Yes. Remind you of anything, viz. the Patriot Act? Most of Congress voted on that without ever even having their aides skim through it. And in the case of the bailout legislation that failed to pass, I believe it was on CNN that I heard that the rank & file of the House had not even SEEN the bill until the day before or the day of the vote. They were being blackmailed (by fear) into voting without thought & consideration.

    The originally proposed bill showed great arrogance: Hi, I’m Hank Paulson, now give me $700 billion to do with as I please, no oversight, no possible appeal to any legal body, no accountability, no mention of re-regulation of financial activities, and hey, my job ends Jan. 20th anyway.

    Now I do recognize that some limits are necessary to accomplish things quickly; lawsuits or court appeals may need to be ruled out for example. But there is no excuse for not having a remedy proposed that shows signs of forethought, of accountability, and so on.

    Are the politicians and economists (and house-flippers) the only people in the country who haven’t been thinking for years that the housing bubble had to break sometime? Are they the only ones who never thought that a rising national debt & trade deficit, big-ticket wars (with large financial costs to come even after the wars “end” if they ever do), greatly increased demand for oil from China and India, failure to improve the education of our populace, deregulation of everything, exportation of all the jobs except pizza delivery and medical care (wow, a new slogan: “Jobs! our biggest export!”), increased numbers of “discouraged workers” who aren’t even counted in the unemployment statistics, failure to invest in infrastructure including not only the roads and bridges on which physical commerce depends but also expansion of wireless networks even to the forgotten areas of low population, and so on ad nauseam—-are we regular folks the only ones who have had our shoulders hunched waiting for the shock? So how come the remedy has to be like battlefield surgery in the Crimean War, hurry up and hack away?

    The bill that just failed was not the one and only possibility. It was a hastily-composed attempt to meet a crisis. Another attempt will be made, clearly must be made. Just like the financiers, our administration needed to be told that someone was watching them. And that the bill they brought forward was not even good enough for government work.

    I have taken (so far just a quick) look at your blog and see this economic crisis is an issue you have given some thought to. I hope you will reply and we can explore our areas of disagreement. Please pardon my vehemence above; I really am old enough to understand that the strength of my opinion has nothing to do with its correctness, and welcome help in progressively closer approximations to sound conclusions.

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful response. I hadn’t followed the bill’s process through capitol hill as closely as it seems you have. Hasty voting is rarely beneficial. However, I’m slightly confused as to why we had a much different understanding of the proposed bill. I first read about it in last week’s Economist, where it was clearly outlined that the bail-out would not be a blank check issued to greedy investment banks, but rather the purchase of (at present) the undesirable securities currently clogging the market’s liquidity.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I tend to steer clear of network news providers – I often find them to be alarmist in their reporting. Funny how influential our news sources can be.

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