21 September, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

The verdict is in on Paulson's "Let's Bail Out the Idiots on Wall Street With No Oversight!" deal, and it is this: fuck no.

Hilzoy, in fact, is pissed:

Deciding what to do about the present financial crisis is beyond anything remotely resembling my expertise. However, like Steve Benen, I've been reading around, and I can't find a single decent economist who likes the plan. That scares me, since I expect that the political dynamics will go something like this: Paulson has proposed a plan; not to accept it would deeply damage confidence in the markets and make things much worse, regardless of whether it's
a good plan or not; therefore, it will be passed. I hope the Democrats try to get some decent regulation and structural reform for all that money.

In the meantime, I do have a few other reactions:

First: throughout all this, I've been torn between believing in market discipline and wanting to avoid moral hazard on the one hand, and thinking that of course that commitment flies out the window if we're seriously threatened with economic collapse, on the other. But it's worth
remembering that we could have avoided having to choose between these unfortunate options. All we needed to do was have people in government who believed in good regulation.

Second: if anyone ever tells me that Republicans are the party of fiscal discipline ever again, I will either dissolve in laughter or bite their heads off. I don't know which. You have been warned.

Third: in particular, if any Republican ever tells me that a hundred million or so is just too much to pay to make sure that kids have health insurance, I will definitely bite his or her head off.

Fourth: I do not want to hear people tell me that regulation cripples the economy, unless they are willing to admit that a lack of regulation can also cripple the economy. Not ever. I don't understand why anyone is so much as tempted to think that "regulation" is good or bad, as a whole: to me, that's like being for or against "things" or "people". Some regulations are
good, some are bad; obviously, we want people in government who can tell the difference, and implement regulatory systems that work well. However, altogether too many of my fellow citizens were willing to listen to ideologues, and now we all get to pay for their mistakes.

Fifth: if Obama wins, he and the Democrats will, in all probability, have to be the grownups once again. Reagan spent us blind; Clinton got us out of debt again. Now Bush has spent us even blinder, and we will be tempted, yet again, to put our ideas and aspirations on hold for the sake of the country.

I would like to hear one Republican, just once, acknowledge this fact.

Good fucking luck with that.

And the Republicons are up to their usual stupid tricks: the sky is falling, only they can save us, give us unlimited power and money or else. Oh, and fuck the little guys:

Congress and the administration are currently in negotiations over a $700 billion legislative package to relieve financial institutions of their bad mortgage-based assets. At issue is
to what extent the package should also aid Americans facing foreclosures. “We must insulate Main Street from Wall Street and keep people in their homes by
reducing mortgage foreclosures,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

On ABC’s This Week today, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) rejected relief for Main Street, labeling it simply “partisan politics” and saying that it doesn’t “need to be part of this


Boehner needs to wake up if he thinks help for Americans facing foreclosure is unnecessary because of last year’s housing bill. Foreclosure filings last month increased 27 percent compared to the same month a year ago. Homeless advocacy groups are “reporting the most visible rise in homeless encampments in a generation” in part because of rising foreclosures.

Direct relief for the middle-class and Americans struggling to stay in their homes should be a necessary part of the bailout package. Ed Paisely of the Center for American Progress explained:

The legislative package that moves rapidly through Congress to implement Paulson’s new plan should also include expanded unemployment benefits and heating assistance for low-income families, increased food stamps, and assistance for states in providing health coverage to families in need during these difficult times. … It would not be right if the rescue only rescues firms and not families.

President Bush also hinted at opposition to direct help for Main Street in a press conference yesterday, stating, “I think most leaders would understand we need to get this done quickly…the cleaner the better.”

Yeah. Bush would know all about clean... and taking responsibility, and all that. After all, he's done such a bang-up job so far. Think Progress has the list of egregious Bush mis-management of the taxpayer dollar. It is far too long to reproduce here.

I hope the Dems locate their spines, and tell the Cons to go piss up a rope, because this bailout package is nothing more than corporate robbery. Bush and his buddies want to rape this country to death.

Don't let them.

McCain, unlike Obama, hasn't come up with a single coherent thing to say in all of this. It's not surprising. After all, he'll feel no pain in this economy whatsoever. He's trying to portray himself as the common man, but how common is this:

That's a lot of cars.

When you have seven homes, that's a lot of garages to fill. After the fuss over the number of residences owned by the two presidential nominees, NEWSWEEK looked into the candidates' cars. And based on public vehicle-registration records, here's the score. John and Cindy McCain: 13. Barack and Michelle Obama: one.

One vehicle in the McCain fleet has caused a small flap. United Auto Workers president Ron Gettelfinger, an Obama backer, accused McCain this month of "flip-flopping" on who bought daughter Meghan's foreign-made Toyota Prius. McCain said last year that he bought it, but then told a Detroit TV station on Sept. 7 that
Meghan "bought it, I believe, herself." (The McCain campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

A month ago, the McCain campaign launched a television ad that told voters, "Life in the spotlight must be grand, but for the rest of us times are tough." And the obvious response to McCain continues to be, "What do you mean, 'us'?"

There is no us, here. And Sarah Palin? Will she be able to answer some of our burning questions? Fuck that - she can't even face Joe Biden in an open fucking debate:

This may be an elaborate effort to manage expectations, but it seems more likely the McCain campaign is genuinely worried about Sarah Palin's ability to handle a nationally televised debate.

The Obama and McCain campaigns have agreed to an unusual free-flowing format for the three televised presidential debates, which begin Friday, but the McCain camp fought for and won a much more structured approach for the questioning at the vice-presidential debate, advisers to both campaigns said Saturday.

At the insistence of the McCain campaign, the Oct. 2 debate between the Republican nominee for vice president, Gov. Sarah Palin, and her Democratic rival,
Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., will have shorter question-and-answer segments than those for the presidential nominees, the advisers said. There will also
be much less opportunity for free-wheeling, direct exchanges between the running mates.

McCain advisers said they had been concerned that a loose format could leave Ms. Palin, a relatively inexperienced debater, at a disadvantage and largely on the defensive. [...]

Fuck the Cons. We need adults in charge now.


Woozle said...

Fuel for anyone trying to talk sense into a Free Market Zealot:

The economy is like an engine. Saying that all regulation harms it and slows it down is kind of like saying we need to get rid of pistons, because they get in the way of the explosions set off by the spark plugs. And hey, why keep the fuel in a completely different part of the car from where the action is? Just short the battery and pour gas on it -- that'll get things going! ...Or are you some kind of combustion-hating liberal??

In real life, removing all regulation would be feudalism: it becomes most profitable for banks to simply keep all of their customers' assets (after, perhaps, an initial waiting period to maximize investment levels), if this is legal. Sure, maybe nobody would trust a bank again after that -- unless they were required to by (e.g.) their employer, who in turn was owned by the bank. Economic regulation would be accomplished by mutual threat between those with the money, and the economy would be essentially slave labor and trading of consumer-serfs.

Hmm, this is starting to sound like fodder for a good SF yarn... but then, so has the last 8 years.

Hank said...

Jesus! This fuckery just doesn't stop does it?
First off McSame: What do you mean "us" Kemosabe? This voter doesn't have 13 cars and who knows how many homes! (Even you don't seem to know that!) You are an old, senile, white, heterosexual politician who needs to be shown the pasture and not the key to the WHITE House! I am a young, militant, homosexual, Native who is the FUTURE of this country! Get this through your addled brain: We have NOTHING in common. You and your kind have been allowed to create a mockery of democracy while me and my kind would love nothing better than to sweep you all out of your offices into the gutter with the other refuse and rats!

As far as his running mate goes, go ahead and change the debate rules. It only shows what a neophyte you are and I can't wait for Biden to bury you. Do you honestly think foreign officials are going to make things easy on you and feel sorry for a Vice President? Hell no!! In the words of Freddy Krueger, "Welcome to prime time bitch!!"