Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A failure of leadership?

While it's clearly a farce for the GOP to blame their failure to get enough votes for the bailout on Nancy Pelosi saying not really all that mean things about them. You can certainly make a plausible case that everyone in D.C. has failed to explain why the bailout is necessary. I mean, Bush is giving daily speeches about it, but nobody's paying attention to that guy anymore... probably something to do with his approval rating, and the fact that he's cried wolf before.

McCain deserves much of the blame for his politicization of the issue, but to be fair, Obama has been somewhat hesitant to show strong support for similarly political reasons. Instead of taking the hard road, and explaining why we need to do this, he was content to just let the bill pass under the cover of bipartisanship without having it be called "Obama's Wall Street Bailout Plan". Hedge his bets, as it were, since the polls were already turning towards him. Since I was calling for exactly that kind of "safe" political play, I guess I can't really criticize him for it... heh... but clearly the situation changed after yesterday.

Well, if anything happened yesterday that was good, it's that Obama is stepping up to the plate:
Over one trillion dollars of wealth was lost by the time the markets closed on Monday. And it wasn’t just the wealth of a few CEOs or Wall Street executives. The 401Ks and retirement accounts that millions count on for their family’s future are now smaller. The state pension funds of teachers and government employees lost billions upon billions of dollars. Hardworking Americans who invested their nest egg to watch it grow are now watching it disappear.

But while the decline of the stock market is devastating, the consequences of the credit crisis that caused it will be even worse if we do not act and act immediately.

Because of the housing crisis, we are now in a very dangerous situation where financial institutions across this country are afraid to lend money. If all that meant was the failure of a few big banks on Wall Street, it would be one thing.

But that’s not what it means. What it means is that if we do not act, it will be harder for you to get a mortgage for your home or the loans you need to buy a car or send your children to college. What it means is that businesses won’t be able to get the loans they need to open new factories, or hire more workers, or make payroll for the workers they have. What it means is that thousands of businesses could close. Millions of jobs could be lost. A long and painful recession could follow.
I also like this part:
This is not a plan to just hand over $700 billion of your money to a few banks on Wall Street. If this is executed the right way, then the government will temporarily purchase the bad assets of our financial institutions so that they can start lending again, and then sell those assets once the markets settle down and the economy recovers. If this is managed correctly, we will hopefully get most or all of our money back, or possibly even turn a profit on the government’s investment – every penny of which will go directly back to you, the investor. And if we do have losses, I’ve proposed to institute a Financial Stability Fee on the entire financial services industry so that Wall Street foots the bill – not the American taxpayer. I’ve also said that if I’m President, I will review the entire plan on the day I take office to make sure that it is working to save our economy and that you are getting your money back.

Will this reach any voters? I don't know, but it's at least a good start.

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