Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Irrelevant Presidential Candidates

As they prepare for their first debate, Barack Obama and John McCain will be upstaged this week by people who will be out of power in four months--members of the Bush Administration and Congress, many of whom retire voluntarily or otherwise at year's end.

No matter what the candidates say, our economy will be on the operating table in Washington, with the surgery being performed, if not by quacks but lame-duck politicians, few of whom have shown any aptitude for making life-and-death decisions (see "War, Iraq" and "Children, Health Insurance for").

With bipartisan urgency, Congress will give Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson power to buy up to $700 billion in distressed mortgage-related assets from private holders.

“I hate the fact that we have to do it, but it’s better than the alternative,” Paulson said in his round of appearances of the Sunday morning talk shows. “This is a humbling, humbling time for the United States of America.”

The alternative would be an unthinkable meltdown of the financial markets that would eventually throw millions of people out of work as well as their homes.

On Meet the Press, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg admitted that "nobody knows exactly what they should do, but anything is better than nothing. You've got to restore the public's belief and the market's belief that we will go on. And this is not just an American problem, it's financial markets around the world that are all interlinked and they're all collapsing."

That's the emergency agenda for this week, but Bloomberg, who made a fortune providing instant information for the money world, points out that "we're paying the price for the last years where we all wanted something for nothing, where we took risks because we were convinced that we would never have to pay, somebody else would pay on the downside, but we'd keep the profit. Congress has been unwilling to address the fundamentals of this country--an energy policy that makes sense, infrastructure, health care..."

All this will land in the lap of the next president and Congress that Americans will be voting into power six weeks from now. There will be no shortage of promises and finger-pointing in the campaigning until then, but to get us there, the lame ducks will have to get it right in the next few days.

7 comments:

Yellow Dog Don said...

I say again...

Why is Nationalization of the banking and mortgage system referred to as a "bailout".

Is it because the US of A move to becoming a socialist state during a Republican administration is too hard to believe?

Maybe the that is the reason Senators sat in stunned silence when they were pre-briefed by Paulson and Bernake. They realize they are now members of the Politburo of the Central Committee.

Nilita would be proud. We have had a socialist revolution in this country without spilling a drop of blood.

Excuses aside, don't we now have a demonstration that free market capitalism does not work?

james said...

Last election these crowds that one could still hear echoing “four more years!” that resonated and ultimately stirred a winning cause, was based on Bush would do better in time of war. Did they forget the attracts happened on his watch?
I keep hearing polls insinuating McCain would do better in war because of his experience. Let’s reverse the situation. Who would do better making peace? Better yet. Who would do better in preventing war? Who is the best ticket on talks with our Arab and Muslim friends, McCain-Palin or Obama-Biden? Education is the key here, all nations learning from each other in a give and take of important attitude and feelings. One thing is certain, in the Muslim culture; it is easier for men to converse with each other rather then man and women that’s where Biden has the advantage over Palin. On the same token a man who cries fire (“I would fire him”) is a scary image of McCain’s hand slamming down on a big red button yelling “fire!” Our friends and allies of the Arab and Muslim nations would apt to have a better rapport with Obama

John said...

I couldn't agree more. Regardless of what happnes with this plan, the powers-that-be won't be by the time it takes effect. It reminds me of trashing a rental house once you find out that you won't get your security deposit back.

The way I see it, it takes so long for economics to adjust to stimuluous that it'll be years before we know for sure if this "better than the alternative" option truly works.

Politicians are so funny. On the bright side, it provides never-ending fodder for the fake news guys at places like Theonion.com, borowitzreport.com and vanderbites.com.

Daniel said...

Makes me laugh when Republican commentators like Guliani insist on calling Obama's plan to raise taxes on those making more than 250K/yr "income redistribution" as if that is such an evil notion that all debate ends there. Apparently, under the Republican philosophy, income is only allowed to be redistributed from the working class to the upper class in the form of taxpayer-funded bailouts.

Anonymous said...

To Daniel: You seem to like the "wealth redistribution" system -- let's take $100 from your wallet, ostensibly to help some poor, underprivileged homeless guy. But instead of giving it to him directly, we'll just give it to a group of PAC-owned politicans to distribute as they see fit. No thanks, I like choosing myself where my largess goes.

To yellow dog don: "Excuses aside, don't we now have a demonstration that free market capitalism does not work?" It works a lot better than socialism/communism ... or do you fail to realize the economic conditions that triggered the demise of the USSR and that is the bane of European countries' ineffectual programs?

So to answer your question "Is it because the US of A move to become a socialist state during a Republican administration is too hard to believe?" Yes, we can point to rampant socialists like Reid and Pelosi, not to mention Obama. You're evidently spinning too much and are too dizzy to see the hypocricy of your logic.

brianNM

yacovm said...

Regardless of what is written about Obama doesn’t mean it is true. What is true is “what comes out of the mouth the heart is full of” and we hear what Obama says and we can judge his heart accordingly.
Our biggest problem now aside from energy is terrorism (if we fix our energy we fix the economy) and there’s two ways to address terror, offensively or defensively. Both face the same tossup war or peace. Education is the key, why radical Islam hates us. Talking and listening with our enemies and allies spending money on the schools that will prevent the teaching of radical Islam and at the same time be sensitive to the ancient customs of the Arab nations and leave diversity the role it needs to play. I am an American that lived in Israel ten years near a Arab neighborhood (Bethlehem) and I know how Arab-Israeli (Arabs that were born in Israel) and Palestinians (Arabs who were born outside usually Jordan) and have an understanding how both think. The more violence we will use against this Holy War, the more they are given the right to use terror.
We need a president who understands this. Obama is a man who does.

yacovm said...

Last election these crowds that one could still hear echoing “four more years!” that resonated and ultimately stirred a winning cause, was based on Bush would do better in time of war. Did they forget the attracts happened on his watch?
I keep hearing polls insinuating McCain would do better in war because of his experience. Let’s reverse the situation. Who would do better making peace? Better yet. Who would do better in preventing war? Who is the best ticket on talks with our Arab and Muslim friends, McCain-Palin or Obama-Biden? Education is the key here, all nations learning from each other in a give and take of important attitude and feelings. One thing is certain, in the Muslim culture; it is easier for men to converse with each other rather then man and women that’s where Biden has the advantage over Palin. On the same token a man who cries fire (“I would fire him”) is a scary image of McCain’s hand slamming down on a big red button yelling “fire!” Our friends and allies of the Arab and Muslim nations would apt to have a better rapport with Obama