Monday, September 29, 2008

Politicians Have Finally Left Us For Dead

Our own legislative branch has finally let partisan politics get in the way of patching the hole in the Titanic that is our economy. I'm pissed off and have some thoughts about it. I would love to know yours:

First, let's get a firm grasp on why the bailout plan failed and why it was voted down by the people who voted it down:

POLITICS. Remember on Saturday, when the news was the deal had reached agreement amongst Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans and House Democrats? Who is missing? House Republicans. Why? The key is election cycles. Senators are up for election every 6 years, but members of the house of representatives are up every 2 years...meaning all members are up for re-election this year. Democratic seats are all considered relatively safe, but republican seats are all threatened after the past 8 years.

Now, let's look at the emotional issues behind the bailout. "Main Street" (A term that I have grown so sick of, as with any bumper sticker - cutesy term for complex voters with complex needs...see: Hockey Mom) doesn't understand why the people who fucked them in the first place, i.e. big business and wall street should get "rewarded" with $700 billion while their house is getting foreclosed. They feel that the money should go to them directly, rather than "trickling down". While on a gut level this makes sense, the truth is that the $700 billion will cost each tax payer $2,300, however doing nothing could potentially cost them everything. Because banks and institutions prefer to have their money making money, they invest their cash. These investments are in companies like AIG or any number of stocks that have their investments layered with bad mortgage debt and derivatives (that I, admittedly, do not understand) on those mortgages. As the mortgage assets on their books become worthless, so too does their stock and so too do the assets in EVERYONE'S 401K plans, their local banks (who are now not lending money for small businesses to start or survive), people's companies who will have to lay them off because they can't make pay roll. Everyone's jobs and retirement savings are caught up in this mess, and it's worth far more than $2,300. But politics, particularly populist politics is an emotional sport, so people don't see this, they only see the inherent unfairness of giving this money to the millionaires who screwed us to begin with.

Back to elections: The above "Main Street" voters are all fed up and are calling and writing their congress men and women around the clock begging them to vote against this unfair bill. For a democratic congressman/woman whose seat is safe, going against your constituents to do what is best for the country is not political suicide...their seats are already safe. For the 2/3 of the Republican Senators who are not up for re-election this year or next, it is, again, not political suicide to go against your constituents and vote for this bill. That leaves only the House Republicans, who are up for re-election this year. To go against the wishes of their voters assures that they will lose their seats in November. It is their nature of self preservation that was put ahead of the national interest by voting this bill down. They are banking on the full reverberation of this disaster not being felt by election day.

But it is not only the Republicans who are playing politics in this moment when we need to come together as a unified country in the face of disaster and rise to action. Speaker of the House, Nanci Pelosi couldn't help but pepper her pre-vote speech with descriptions of George Bush's "budgetary recklessness" and "anything goes mentality". Seriously? You really think that now is the best time for partisan pot shots? In any previous generation, a leader would give a speech about Americans coming together in the face of crisis. Eric Cantor, the Republican House whip, in turn blamed his inability to do his job and rally his party around the good of the country on Pelosi's speach and Democrats in general.

Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! your fucking jobs. I don't give a fuck who you blame, if you can't get your shit together and pass legislation in a time of crisis unparalleled since the great depression then I BLAME YOU! ALL OF YOU! have finally brought the country together. I hate all of you on either side of the aisle! Now shut up, get back to work and save our country.



P.S. I would love to know anyone else's thoughts on this. There are plenty of counterpoints I can think of, but the above argument is the one I can most justify...maybe I just need to believe that there is a viable answer because the alternative is just too scary.

And now, for a comparative moment of levity:

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