The Housing Chronicles Blog: Public simply doesn't trust federal government on bailout

Friday, September 26, 2008

Public simply doesn't trust federal government on bailout

Considering what's happened in American politics over the last generation (and not just the last 8 years), it's certainly understandable why the public simply doesn't trust anything that comes out of Washington, including the proposed federal financial bailout. From an LATimes story:

As congressional leaders struggled to craft a bailout plan for the nation's troubled financial system Thursday, angry protesters mobbed Wall Street, telephones rang off the hook in House and Senate offices and a group of prominent economists sent off e-mail blasts critiquing the proposal.

Numerous opinion polls taken this week came to wildly varying conclusions about the level of support among Americans for the Bush administration's $700-billion plan. But the increasingly loud roar coming from all corners of the nation shows that the idea of a bailout has touched a particularly sensitive nerve among the public...

"It's getting really controversial," said Peter DeMarzo, a professor of finance at Stanford who was among 166 academics who signed a letter sent to House and Senate leaders calling on lawmakers not to rush deliberation on the plan. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) held a copy of the letter as he attended a meeting on the bailout negotiations at the White House. Shelby cited the letter as support for his stance against the Bush plan...

Polls taken in recent days have found little consensus among the American people on the Bush plan, which would provide funds to purchase huge quantities of mortgage-backed securities and other bad debt from troubled financial firms.

A poll by Rasmussen Reports early in the week found that 44% of Americans opposed the plan and 25% supported it. However, a USA Today/Gallup poll released Thursday showed more than 75% favored congressional approval of the bailout. A Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll conducted Sept. 19 through Monday showed 55% opposed to government bailouts of private companies.

More than 1,000 protesters clogged the street in front of the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, bearing signs calling the bailout a "class war crime." A quartet dressed in business attire contrasted with the mob, holding up signs asking Congress to "have a heart, save a hedge fund," as other demonstrators jeered and shouted obscenities at them.

Meanwhile, some online conspiracy theorists think that a move by the military to bring back the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team from Iraq to focus on the homeland for 12 months beginning October 1st is intended to keep the masses in line should public protests get out of control. From the (hat tip:

The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.

Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.

Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks...

The command is at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., but the soldiers with 1st BCT, who returned in April after 15 months in Iraq, will operate out of their home post at Fort Stewart, Ga., where they’ll be able to go to school, spend time with their families and train for their new homeland mission as well as the counterinsurgency mission in the war zones...

The 1st of the 3rd is still scheduled to deploy to either Iraq or Afghanistan in early 2010, which means the soldiers will have been home a minimum of 20 months by the time they ship out.

In the meantime, they’ll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.

They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack...

The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”

The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.

Wow, I feel better already.

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