The ends vs. the middle

You know, I noticed a very interesting phenomenon regarding this whole credit bailout bill thing in the House on Monday, and the failed vote.  Take a look at who voted for and against it. The “no” votes, amazingly, came from both the far left and the far right.  Congressmen from both parties were reporting being deluged with calls running massively against passing the bailout bill, and it didn’t matter whether their districts were liberal or conservative.  Very liberal outlets (like Republic of Dogs, for example) were just as happy with this thing crashing and burning as very conservative ones (like Free Republic).

Now both sides are sitting back and working on their plans, which is as it should be.  The Senate has what appears to be Bailout Bill Mk II lined up for a vote today, which looks like the House bill with some more stuff attached to it like a $100 billion package of tax credits and changes–a bill that may not make it through the House again even if it does pass the Senate tonight (which it probably will).  The Republican Study Committee has their own insurance-based alternative and regulation reform package that they plan to introduce in the House.  There was word last night that some Democrats who were opposed to Bailout Bill Mk I are working on their own alternative package, although I can’t find what’s in it.

This is how it’s supposed to work.  Put alternatives out on the table, work through them, come up with something, or maybe even nothing and let the markets sort themselves out (what a concept, huh?).  Not some big crazed ZOMGSAVEUSALL bumrush that hands Hank Paulson a $700 billion blank check to do what he wants with, without oversight.  It should be noted that while credit is definitely tighter this week, the Dow made back the majority of Monday’s loss yesterday…and the “worst one-day loss in history” amounted to roughly 7% of the Dow’s amount, far less than the 20%+ single-day crash in 1987.

If nothing else, this week is notable for seeing Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, and Thaddeus McCotter all lined up on the same side of a vote.  If that ain’t one for the ages, it’s pretty close.

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3 Responses to “The ends vs. the middle”

  1. torteya Says:

    I find your glee over a sure sign that the apocalypse is near very troubling, sir!

    I agree, it’s a good reminder that public dissatisfaction with an inept ruling class knows no specific politics. Seems like the populists on both sides are stepping in.

    I honestly wish I understood what the hell is going on with the causes for the crisis, the various proposals, etc. There isn’t even consensus amongst the “economics people” I trust, damnit. But it’s always good to have more than one option on the table and people being able to have something they can get behind, regardless of being the one that passes or not.

  2. Lewis Says:

    What this boils down to, IMO, is a trust issue. You don’t trust the current administration because they’re Republican and you’ve disagreed with most of their policies from day one–fair enough, I understand that. I don’t trust the current administration because of how they tried to ram this down our throats at warp speed. And neither of us trust the fact that the original bailout plan basically gave Secretary Paulson up to $700 billion of our money to purchase this junk paper, with no oversight, no debate, and no control. You could put the Sainted Ronald Reagan at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW right now and I’d be hellbent against this bailout. I do not trust a Goldman Sachs insider like Hank Paulson to properly administer a plan whose primary purpose is to ease a credit lockup that his homeboys on the Street had the biggest part in creating.

    I don’t like class warfare. I think it’s a lousy way to make policy. Whipping up a dislike of “the rich” and people not paying “their fair share” is the worst of populism IMO (we went around the bush on this over on OPB in the tax thread there). What we’ve seen here is the best of populism. It was the people, the voters, standing up and saying, “I may be liberal or I may be conservative, but I think letting Wall Street largely off the hook for inflating a $45 trillion derivatives bubble is bullshit.” And damned if 228 Congresscritters didn’t listen. Will they continue to do so? Beats me.

    Personally I think the Senate will pass the bailout tonight. It’s been sweetened with some earmarks (are you listening, Senator McCain?) and tax breaks, most notably the $80 billion alternative minimum tax changes that’s going to keep a couple million households from getting royally screwed when they bump into the onerous AMT next year. And the Senate has not shown a tendency, in the past, to listen to the will of the voters very well. It’s going to come back down to the House, and we’ll see if it passes there. The tax breaks will probably run a few Democrats off, and bring a few Republicans into the fold.

  3. torteya Says:

    Oh, I wholeheartedly agree that describing the current trust issue as huge right now would be a gross understatement. There is no way any bill a tenth as important as this one will just be steamrolled without causing an uproar in today’s climate.

    I will try to clarify my views (re:taxes) on a further, separate post. While I firmly believe paying “their fair share” is crucial for everybody, not just the rich (and yes, “fair” is a hard to cleanly define notion); I don’t think hate of the rich is what motivates my views. But! I’m well aware it’s really unfair to expect a good understanding of somebody else’s views based on a paragraph or two. I’ve had this “What I really mean by ‘I’m a liberal’ is…” post in the backburner of my rusty brain for ages, I am just way too good at the dark arts of procrastination. Damnit.


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