Monday, September 29, 2008

Bail out at 10,000

I tend to be a contrarian when it comes to politics. As for politicians, I am a pessimist and rarely pleasantly surprised. But there is a long list of things that most commentators are not talking about.

I did appreciate the analysis of the House vote offered by Chuck Todd on NBC's Nightly News.
According to Todd,the yes no vote depended on whether the Representative was in a close race, or had one recently. Those is safe districts voted aye. Those facing a challenge listened to their constituency's fears and voted "nae".

Beyond that, if there was a failure of leadership here, I think that started with Nancy Pelosi who could not make up her mind whether to blame everything on the Republicans for the last 50 years, or to urge more bi-partisan work. As usual, her timing was terrible. Cindy Sheehan should be all over this as it is a great opportunity to trash Pelosi.

I don't know whether having Nader in town helps or hurts on that question. He will also trash the plan but the focus will be on Ralph, not Cindy.

Almost every staffer in Washington in working double overtime trying to protect their bosses backside.

When I heard the Republican plan for an mortgage insurance.
House Republicans negotiated a section into the bill that would establish an insurance program for toxic assets. Instead of selling troubled mortgage-backed securities to the Treasury, banks could instead purchase insurance from the Treasury on the assets.
That still leaves the situation without regulation and the lack of regulation is very much what got us into this mess. What makes them think that the industry that found creative ways to leverage the risk will show any more risk aversion with an insurance policy to bail them out. That is even worse than the Paulsen plan.

With all of the fear and uncertainty in the market, someone should be asking the House Republicans, beginning with Mike Pence (IN), what they think about privatizing Social Security. That never made sense to me, even though the long range track of such assets is upward, life circumstances happen when they happen and don't ask permission from the market first. It was a fraud when it was suggested and it is clearly not something that they want to talk about now.

Thanks to Dave Roberts at Grist, I got around to reading Chalmers Johnson at The Nation. It is not normally on my reading list, but this is one of the best commentaries that I have read.
Spending hundreds of billions of dollars on present and future wars that have nothing to do with our national security is simply obscene. And yet Congress has been corrupted by the military-industrial complex into believing that by voting for more defense spending, they are supplying "jobs" for the economy. In fact, they are only diverting scarce resources from the desperately needed rebuilding of the American infrastructure and other crucial spending necessities into utterly wasteful munitions. If we cannot cut back our long-standing, ever-increasing military spending in a major way, then the bankruptcy of the United States is inevitable. As the current Wall Street meltdown has demonstrated, that is no longer an abstract possibility but a growing likelihood. We do not have much time left.

One last thought. My wife was talking to one of her old college friends today. Her friend does not pay much attention to the news. When Rumiko mentioned that the stock market was down 777 points yesterday, that caught her friends attention. "That's terrible. All of my income is from dividends and interest." When anti-capitalist leftist talk about the scuttling the bailout, they need, at the same time, to say exactly what they will do with all of the 401-K plans, the corporate and union pension funds, that just lost as much money as the bailout will cost. That is our money, some of it is my money, and I would hate to see it disappear for lack of intelligent action.