As Wall Street plunged, everyone argued. Some said Bailout Plan was the end of the Reagan era. Others said it would snuff out the free market system. Others said it would bail out the culprits. Conservatives and outraged populists joined forces to defeat the bill. As a Washington Post article points out, it is no accident that most of the Nays were up for election.
There is no question that it is the end of the Regan era. There is less of a question that freewheeling financial markets are kaput, fini. Lou Dobbs could barely contain his outrage over the present political leadership. Such outrage, while commendable, may be misplaced. As I pointed out in a prior piece, if credit dries up, then all of us will be like small fish caught in the ice.
On the other hand, to limit debate to ten hours…and to claim that we could push through a salvation bill in two or three days…was idiotic. More damage may have been done through the failure of its passage than would have been done if it had been passed. We should have given two, three, or four times as much debate. Take some time, please. I try to imagine myself as a representative, struggle through those three hundred odd pages, trying to sort out all the questions I have, while at the same time the phone is ringing, arms are being twisted….ouch.
The last thing we need is panic.
Meanwhile, rage moves through streets. While Paulson tries to loosen the proposed shackles on CEO compensation for fear companies will be less willing to cooperate, the masses outside want blood.
They have been told to worship at the golden feet of CEO’s such as Merrill’s O’Neal, to hope one day their son or daughter would climb such heights, revel in such riches. They thought they were wise, not arrogant, careless, and greedy.
Now…surprise! They are careless and greedy. And more surprise, even those who should have known better, who were in charge, are now surprised. Things are about to fall apart…and now they tell us. And falling apart so fast that we have, it seems, seconds in which to act.
Not even the most devious demon could not have conjure up a scenario such this to cause such panic: One month ago–everything fine. Today and seconds away–Unimaginable disaster. Outrage? You betcha.
Class warfare? Seconds away.