Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In response to Kevin Drum's blog entry, I think there’s much truth to the retort that if this type of bailout were proposed a year ago, given the lack of urgency from Lehman/AIG type implosions, Congress would’ve likely balked. HOWEVER, that still doesn’t justify why the proposed bailout today is in such skeletal form, that they’ve had months to at least begin to plan for worse-case scenarios and put together something of a game plan for attack assuming such worst-case scenarios could come to fruition (as seemingly has happened). It’s inexcusable that the solution on the table is basically being presented as if scribbled on a napkin. Where are the details, or at least evidence that this impending disaster didn’t surprise the supposedly highly capable people we have in charge to avoid such surprises? I realize we’re in uncharted waters and no one has all the answers to this profoundly unique situation, but c’mon, to have gun-held-to-head to pass an on-faith-alone, scant proposal, one that we may be shackled with for years to come, is just another example of sheer, brazen incompetence to come down the pike in the last 7+ years. As Obama said, enough!

Of course, one could strap on the tin foil hat and conjecture that the boys in charge planned this all along, to allow the financial system to break down to this point so that they could then push hard a slap-dash solution in expediency, one that was absent specifics and could be modified to save their buddies at the expense of the idiot taxpayers. They could’ve known all along that the only solution to the debacle they saw unfolding on the inside was to let the unwind get to the point of severe crisis which would then serve as a much-needed catalyst for swift action without much investigation or pondering by Congress. Heck, it worked with the Patriot Act! Without such looming fear to instill urgency, more reasonable and just actions would be offered, which more likely would have meant bad news for the top dogs in the offending companies. Better to force backs against the wall as means to getting a more full-blown bailout that could shower them with all kinds of rewarding outs amidst the chaos, and one with much less accountability. Small-scale cures allow for closer scrutiny under the microscope; immense, bombastic cures translates into more confusion, more loop holes, more gamesmanship.

Oh, and what better than to let the crisis unfold until about six weeks before the election only to then sound the alarms and pull the 3-page proposal out of one's back pocket. That's just enough time to have investors chew on whatever is passed by Congress, allowing a relief-glow to take hold, and a stock market rally to ensue -- at least until November 4th. After that day, all bets are off, but for Paulson et al it's hopefully mission accomplished (McCain wins and the corporate elite heading up the problem financial companies are rewarded with our tax money).

As for the higher tax rates to serve as a form of justified punishment against the wealthy, the problem is not all rich folks are “guilty” of the sins in this case. In fact, a good number of affluent citizens had nothing to do with mortgage fraud or the derivatives mess, just to name a few. The desire to tax higher-income earners at higher rates for philosophical or ideological reasons is one thing, but to use higher tax rates as some broad-sweeping whipping stick to crack knuckles appears to be crossing the line in my opinion.

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