I guess that's exactly what we're in. Chicken Little, the sky is falling down! The House has defeated the Bush bailout bill, with 133 Republicans and 95 Democrats voting "nay." That's about 2/3 of the Republicans, 1/3 of the Dems. The market went down 777 points yesterday, the biggest drop in its history, and we have a lot of hand wringing and finger pointing going on. I understand the vile little fraud in the White House is going on TV again early tomorrow to tell us that the sky is falling, and that to save ourselves we have to embrace his plan to get us out of it.
Commentary has been tart from the right. David Brooks says the people voting against the bill are nihilists, and if there's deep recession coming, it's their fault. This is a bit premature, isn't it? Is anybody certain that if the bill is passed we won't have a deep recession anyway? Of course not, but now there's a ready-made scapegoat out there: all those nihilists.
The pressure to pass this legislation is cranking up fiercely. I was watching Anderson Cooper on CNN tonight, and it was nothing but a steady stream of how irresponsible and stupid the Congress was, how everybody in the country is going to be mauled by the lack of credit, and--my favorite--how the American people just don't understand the legislation. And that, brothers and sisters, is why they are telling their representatives and senators hell, no, don't you vote for this POS. We're all a bunch of dodo birds out here. If we really want wisdom and understanding, we should be listening to these frigging fonts of intelligence in the media. Pu-leez!
Well, smoke this, CNN--the people understand enough about this bill to know that they and their kids are the ones getting the shaft, while the evildoers don't even get punished. What they get is hundreds of billions in free taxpayer money. There are other reasons to oppose this bill, and I've talked about them here and here. The very best presentation of why the Bush bailout sucks is Glen Greenwald's. It should be required reading for everybody in Congress.
As I've also said, now is the time for the Democrats to grow a pair of gonads. Look, if Bush and his people want this so bad, the Democrats should make them pay for it: with all of the provisions that should be there like help for the people with mortgages and much tighter safeguards for taxpayer money. Paul Krugman talked about these progressive provisions on Keith Olbermann tonight. And the editorial in the NY Times today also mentioned such provisions and noted that "Over all, lawmakers have given too little consideration, in public at least, to alternatives to the Treasury’s plan to buy up the bad assets from various financial firms." Just so. Why is this Bush plan the only plan?
If Bush and his people balk about these changes, well, tough, they don't get their bill. It's a lousy bill. It was a really lousy bill as originally proposed, and the trimming around the edges that was supposed to improve it didn't do a hell of lot of that.
I do not buy that the world is coming to end because the Congress will not pass a piece of rancid legislation that the overwhelming majority of the American people oppose. This is, as far as I know, still a democracy of sorts.