The Housing Chronicles Blog: Grassroots rage building over the federal bailout

Monday, September 29, 2008

Grassroots rage building over the federal bailout

It's one thing to see "no bailout" tags at the end of blog comments, but with a growing backlash against a federal bailout of the financial industry -- which is apparently trying to add everything but the kitchen sink in with failed mortgages -- it's easy to see why Congress can't seem to agree on a solution. Columnist Lou Barnes takes it on:

Any large-scale federal financial rescue was certain to face political chaos. However, within hours of rollout last Thursday this rescue collided with two linked and disastrous forces that may yet defeat immediate rescue...

Most grown-ups know that it's a mistake to ask a group to vote on an important proposal without prior discussion. You wouldn't spring something big on your PTA, your HOA or your book club and demand an immediate approval. You wouldn't ask a Cub Scout troop to vote on a field trip without some testing of the water.

Hank Paulson would. Hank has had 13 months to prepare a contingency plan in case market solutions to this crisis failed, and quietly to explore alternatives with Congress. Instead, he dumped on Congress a three-page sketch of a highly technical and questionable proposal. Tuesday's hearings in the first minutes revealed bipartisan, confused, angry and incredulous Senators, and an ill-prepared Paulson...

Over last weekend another force erupted all over the country: native, grassroots rage at a bailout that would leave all the big institutions in place -- officers, directors, stockholders, all -- and offer to taxpayers the absurd promise of payback from hundreds of billions of trash that the institutions couldn't unload on anyone else.

You tell me your precious markets will melt down without this? Why do I care? Your stock market can go to goddamn zero on Monday, and then you can come down here with me to find out how it feels not to be able pay the bills. More than half of Americans have no stake in these markets, no savings at all; and there is a political price to be paid for extreme inequality of income.

This bailout, incomprehensible to civilians and many experts and senators, should have taken ownership in the institutions involved. Proper vetting to Congress months ago would have gotten that done. Instead, the same ancient American forces that ignited the Palin phenomenon, Jefferson-Jackson-Bryan-LaFollette populism, have mobilized an anti-bank, anti-smarty-pants, street-level riot not seen in modern times.

Completing the scene: President Bush's nasty little speech on Wednesday, assigning blame and taking no responsibility; Senator McCain's grandstand play on economic issues he's said for decades he's not any good at; and Senator Obama's silent tip-toeing along.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ANd more bailouts keep more.