Pointing Fingers-An Old Game Repackaged

Why did this bailout bill fail?  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Senator Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Chris Dodd’s complete lack of leadership.  The Democrats control both houses of Congress yet they can not muster enough votes to pass what they see as an extremely important piece of legislation.  Senator McCain brought in over 60 Republicans on this issue when he was in Congress over the weekend.  Senator Obama called in his support but made little effort to support this legislation, instead relying on his Monday morning quarterbacking skills to praise or denounce the bailout vote, whichever was needed politically.  Chris Dodd, Speaker Pelosi and Barney Fife, I mean Frank, could not even get their members to agree on this bill, choosing instead to blame others for its failure.
  2. Politics. I don’t mean Presidential here either.  The Democrats wanted to be able to blame the Republicans for passing this bill.  13 of 19 Democrats who are in tight races across the country voted against this bill AFTER they saw the Republicans voting against it.  If it passed with Republicans putting it over the top, the Democrats would run stories and ads about how they didn’t really want the bill.
  3. Wall Street.  When the bill’s passage seemed certain stocks looked good.  However oil prices shot through the roof on speculation that consumers would have a lifeline to borrow from this winter to pay for oil.  As the bill failed stocks fell.  And now faced with the possibility that consumers could not afford to pay for oil this winter, oil prices fell to under $100 a barrel.  Wall street traders and speculators were once again left to find their own solutions and face the fact that they may lose money this year.
  4. The American People.  Finally enough of us woke up and said ENOUGH!, let Wall Street fail, we’ll cut back, we don’t need all this credit.  Unfortunately, there is little we can do to prevent eventual passage and we will have to swallow a $700 billion dollar pill in order to save a couple bucks, and I do mead about $2, in our 401K accounts.
  5. World Markets.  They need this just as much as our market.  They hold many of these bad debts and don’t want to lose money on them either.  Yes, Asian and European markets will get some of this $700 billion.  But as they begged for us to pass a bailout to save their economies, the people of these countries continued to rally against America and it’s trade policies.  Perhaps some of our Representatives finally realized that not all of $700 billion will go to Americans.
  6. Stupid Partisan Speeches.  Only one party to blame here and it is the Democrats.  When Speaker Pelosi stood up and said that Bush and his “right wing ideology of anything goes, no supervision, no discipline, no regulation” was to blame for this bailout, she effectively killed the legislation and allowed Republicans to not only make a stand but also push for more insurance on deposits and other provisions they wanted in the bill.
  7. Lastly, the Media.  America is at the beginning of a recession.  However so far it is the mildest recession in our nation’s history.  Today my newspaper reported a jobless rate of 6.1%.  When I moved back here 10 years ago the jobless rate was hovering between 8-10%.  Wages have gone up steadily until recently and it was only after the minimum wage bill passed in PA (now 7.25/hr)  and the Congress that unemployment stated to rise because small employers could not afford the increase.  By the way out of their laundry list of promises they made when they were regaining control of Congress, the minimum wage adjustment is the only one that has passed.  All of the others (think Iraq) have failed or not even been discussed out of committee.  Yet the media continues to prey on the fears of all of us and attaches stories about the Great Depression to discussions on the bailout.  Perhaps they played their monster in the closet card one too many times this week. 

In the end the result of the bill was the same- Republicans are to blame for the economy, according to Democrats.  If it passed it would have been a Republican President and Congressional Republicans who forced it on every one of us.  The news article in my issue of the Time Leader would have read ” Rather than repudiating their President for this mess, Republicans chose to support their President’s failed economic policies.”.  When it failed it was the Republicans who killed it because they did not support their President.  As the Times Leader paraphrased Barney Fife, oops again, Frank today  “Rather than a repudiation of Democrats…Republican’s refusal of the bailout was a rejection of their President.”  

I still hold to the fact that all Americans are to blame for this situation and not any one party.  Certainly rules were relaxed and it started when Clinton was in office and continued through Bush, but Americans did not have to accept money we could not pay back.  Case in point.  When I bought my house I was approved for a mortgage up to $150,000.  After laughing my ass off because I knew that the mortgage company had been drinking while doing these numbers, I chose to go with a mortgage I knew I could afford.  There are many others who took the full amount, thinking they could or would be able to afford it and are facing foreclosure because of that decision.  That’s not the fault of your leaders.

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Why John McCain?

As John McCain puts his country ahead of his campaign once again, detractors are arguing that this is just the latests stunt by John McCain win attention for himself.  Unfortunately those people are missing the point of what McCain is doing. 

In an op-ed piece in The Washington Post today, Harold Meyerson wrote cynically of McCain’s campaign suspension and request for Friday’s debate to be postponed.  In a piece called McCain’s Ploy, Meyerson argues that McCain is simply making this crisis about himself and the “indispensability of John McCain, leader of leaders.  He even goes on to argue that McCain wants the debate to be postponed so that the country can settle down and refocus on the subject of Friday’s debate, foreign policy-an area of absolute advantage for Mccain. 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/24/AR2008092403918.html?nav%3Dhcmodule&sub=new

What Meyerson misses in his piece however is that what McCain is doing by going back to the Senate is his job.  John McCain is a Senator until November 4 and thus his responsibilities include writing, voting and passing legislation for America.  Sen Obama has refused to go back to Washington, to his Senate seat, to hammer out legislation saying that Presidents must handle more than one crisis at a time.  Unfortunately for Senator Obama, he is not President and thus it is not his responsibility as yet to deal with the war and the economy at the same time.  Sen Obama’s primary responsibility as of September 25, 2008 is in the Senate and thus it falls to him to help write, vote and pass (or kill) legislation, especially legislation that affects the current economic situation.

While cynics argue over McCain’s motives,  I can’t help but remind anyone who cares to visit this blog about McCain’s past leadership.  Leadership that if followed may have averted or at least reduced this crisis we now face. Leadership that shows his current actions rise above the politics and polls.   On May 25,2006 Sen McCain stood before the Committe on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and warned them about Fannie and Freddie.  In his statement he said:

“The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.”

In the same statement Sen McCain proposed S.190, a bill that would have set up regulatory reforms for agencies like Fannie and Freddie.  He also warned that the economy would be in jeopardy if something was not done. 

“I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.”

(By the way, who was on the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Development?  Senator Chris Dodd (the same who asked Paulson how we got into this mess during yesterday’s testimony) and Sen Evan Bayh (yep VP contender for Obama 08))

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s109-190 (sponsors and cosponsors of reform legislation)

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/record.xpd?id=109-s20060525-16&bill=s109-190 (full remarks by Sen McCain)

Once again I am reminded why I am voting for John McCain.  While Sen Obama is holed up in a hotel room studying for the debates,  issuing statements about bipartisanship, and Monday morning quarterbacking the situation, John McCain is at work coming up with solutions in a bipartisan manner.  It is this kind of leadership that drew me to Sen McCain 8 years ago and is the basis for my support now.

It’s McCain, Stupid!!!!!

After hearing one too many voters say “I can’t deal with another 4 years of Bush”  as a response to the question “why are you voting for Clinton/Obama?”,  I feel the need to remind anyone reading this that President Bush served 8 years as President and is no longer eligible to be President.   Sen John McCain is the Republican nominee.  That means he, not George Bush, is running for President.  It is naive, close minded and just plain stupid to say, as a registered voter, that you are voting against George Bush.   Agree or disagree with President Bush,  your vote will in no way make him lose sleep on election night.  It will in no way affect the way he governs because he will be done governing. 

Whoever the Democratic nominee is for President, he/she will have to face off against  John McCain and his policies, not the policies of the current President.  For either candidate this will be a new aspect to the campaign since so far neither Clinton nor (especially) Obama have stated their proposals in a clear, meaningful way.  Instead they jockey for the best anti-Bush statement of the day while throwing each other under the bus. 

Again, George Bush is not running for President,  he has served his term in office.  This is just a friendly reminder of that fact and a hope that only well informed voters will exercise their rights going forward.