September 26, 2008

Wall Street Bailout a Bad Idea

Iraq War Protest: Dissent Is DemocraticImage by J.L. McVay / StereoactiveNYC via FlickrI think the likely bailout of Wall Street is a bad idea. In saying that, I suppose I align myself with the the fiscal conservatives and break ranks with what now appears to be the mainstream of the Democratic Party. So be it. I still think it is a bad idea. To be fair, I recognize that their are progressive organizations opposing the bailout too, but it appears that they will once again be ignored by the party of who calls them their base.

I've heard the case for the bailout, and while I thought Bush's address yesterday was one of his more coherent ones, I'm still not buying it. After all, he has a bit of a credibility problem. He needs to do more than play the "fear card" to persuade me that handing over $700 billion of taxpayer money to the wealthy elite is a good idea.

I know that Bush and his supporters, which now seems to include the bulk of the Democratic Party, are trying to pitch this as a last-ditch effort to save the American economy to all our benefit. But it isn't to all our benefit. We're being asked to incur one hell of a debt (in addition to the bill for the unjust war in Iraq) without any assurances that this gamble will work.

The Bush administration's resume includes (1) leaving us unprotected on 9/11 despite the warnings; (2) invading Iraq under false pretenses and without provocation, planning, or exit strategy; (3) showcasing their inability to govern in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; and (4) pushing the very sort of deregulation which led to the current economic "crisis." How can we now be expected to swallow their latest concoction?

Are economic recessions not a natural part of market behavior? Is there to be absolutely no accountability for the financial sectors responsible for our current situation? I realize that this makes me sound like a raging conservative here, but I can't help thinking that we should allow the market to correct itself and then follow the correction with improved policies.

Yes, this is scary for the average American who has little understanding of the economy. And I certainly don't envy those depending on their investments for retirement income. But that shouldn't mean that we act hastily and without adequate protections in place. This is the time for reasoned analysis. If a bailout really is necessary, those who represent us ought to keep our best interests in mind. It is the struggling American who needs a bailout and not Wall Street.