Monday, September 29, 2008


Now What?

OK, so the bailout has failed. Now what?

I can see where House Republicans came from. If you believe in small government and acting as a responsible steward of the taxpayers' money, then voting to spend $700 billion on what can only be labeled as private corporate greed is ideologically difficult to stomach.

However, if you don't like that solution, then what solution are you trumpeting? Seriously. The idea put forth this weekend by House Republicans like Tennessee's own Marsha Blackburn which would have generated revenue from per-transaction fees was ridiculous. It has no chance of working in reality and made little sense theoretically.

But don't believe the media sources that are laying this at the feet of the Republicans. My message to those like Michael Silence: hey, buddy, last time I checked, the Republicans can't pass jack by themselves. This was a bipartisan shelling of the bailout bill. If you want to blame someone, blame Speaker Nancy Pelosi. If she could have exhibited some strong leadership and convinced her rank-and-file to support the bill, then it would be on its way to President Bush's desk for his signature. When you get 94 Members of the majority party - that's a whopping 40.34% of the Democratic Members of the House - to revolt against Speaker Pelosi, then you have a real question about who is running the show in the lower house of Congress.

Zach Wamp said last week that this would be the toughest vote of his political career. I can see why.

What would I have done? Well, the bill in its current form is probably unacceptable, so I would have probably have voted against it. However, with the proper safeguards to make sure that the money was being spent for its titled purpose and with some punitive measures (removal of certain CEOs without golden parachutes, corporate restructuring, etc.), I probably could have been persuaded to vote for a different version of the bill. I really do fear what is ahead for our economy without this bailout, because so much of our economy is based on perception, confidence, and fear. The thought planted by academics, politicians, and the media that our economy cannot survive without this bailout becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In a particular case I handled several months ago, I was brought in as a guardian ad litem for a child. This case had been going on in its various forms for nearly 13 years. The Department of Children's Services had proposed a solution that was unappetizing, at best. At worst, it went specifically against what they had been pleading for years before the court. I didn't feel right about the proposed outcome and told the judge so. He took me aside and said that he understood where I was coming from, but if I didn't want to go along with the agreement that I had to find another answer to the problem.

Those House Members who voted against the bailout bill today are in the same position that I was in. Perhaps they voted their conscience, and that is all well and good, but the problem still remains. Since they didn't want to go along with the agreement, it's now their turn to find another answer to the problem - preferably while there is still a stock market and while the American dollar is still worth more than the paper that it is printed on.


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