On the Failed Bailout

Just in case you missed hearing this, Congress voted down the Wall Street rescue package.  With six weeks to go before the elections, the House voted to save their own skins instead of taking the big hard steps necessary to keep our economy from spinning out of control.

There is plenty of responsibility and blame to go around to all parties.  This problem did not start last week or last year or even 5 or 10 years ago.  We’ve been building a precarious scaffold of economic crazies for a long time.  But today we got slaughtered. The House voted against the bill; the stock market is down 777 points.

I confess that I don’t understand most of what’s going on.  Although I’m a smart person, my brain just isn’t wired to get this stuff that I’ve never heard of and makes no sense.  All I know is that it feels as though I’m being asked to fork over huge bucks to save Wall Street moguls who reaped enormous profits while dragging their companies into risky territory, getting us into this in the first place.

But I do get that voting against a bailout is a bad thing.  Unemployment is going to go up as companies can’t afford to make payroll.  People will lock down their spending to necessities, which will mean even more businesses going under.  Retirement is even longer away because suddenly I have far less money to rely on.  It’s scary, very scary.

Someone needs to sit down and write a bullet-point short essay that explains what’s going on, and what the consequences are for NOT taking a step.  The average person just doesn’t get it, and I think Congress voted to save their jobs and not risk a loss on Election Day.  Even if your constituents don’t want it, if it’s necessary, I want the folks in Washington to have the guts to take hard unpopular steps if it’s in the best interest of the country.

The only small bit of light I see in this is that John McCain can’t get any credit for saving the country by his actions last week.  It’s a small light, I’ll grant you, but I really do see the failure as the responsibility of the Republicans more than the Democrats on this one.  I think they’re going to pay a price.

Take a look at this animated look at the credit crunch that aired on ABC News tonight.