Monday, September 29, 2008


Knock, knock

Who’s there?


Fallin’ who?

Fallin’ into a depression.

Today, Wall Street served up the single largest drop, 777 points, in the Dow-Jones Industrial Average, better known as “The Dow,” in the history of the index.

Further than it fell following 9/11.

In one fell swoop investors pockets are now 7% lighter than they were yesterday, all because of partisan posturing in the US Congress.

My congressman, Congressman Nick Lampson voted against the bailout bill. He explained himself in this email message:

“Tens of thousands of Southeast Texans are working to put their lives back together, and the last thing we should do is dump truck loads of taxpayer dollars into the wallets of erratic Wall Street traders.”

“I will vote NO today on saddling taxpayers with this exorbitant bill which amounts to $2,500 for every man, woman and child. I am outraged at this proposal and will continue to fight to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely, not carelessly.”

“The American taxpayer should not, must not, and cannot be viewed as an insurance policy for the misdeeds of Wall Street tycoons. Please join me in calling all elected officials and the leadership of both parties to fight against this bad policy.”

Now here’s what I think.

I think Lampson and the 95 odd Democrats and the 133 Republicans who voted against this bill need to consider whether their solution, let the market self-correct and let the freebooters on Wall Street fail and die, is in the interests of the people. True this bailout amounts to nothing less than corporate extortion, pay or we’ll kill your jobs and retirement. All true. But we have to consider if this threat is real, and if so, consider whether we are prepared to accept the consequences of not paying off the ransom.

Lampson and other fiscal conservatives have essentially called on this bet, and Wall Street responded by extracting 7% of our total wealth.

I tell you, I would be more comfortable with this if the opponents to the bailout would come up with something better than “the free market will self-correct.”

Because this “free market” is anything but free. It’s being run by kleptomaniacs and it is being overseen by kleptomaniacs.

Kleptomaniacs and bad parents.

Bad parents because what we are witnessing is congress, acting as a parent who discovers that their errant children have been caught shoplifting, and are about to be thrown in the slammer. Their reaction? Yell at their kids for being thieves. Hope that they’ll learn their lesson when they spend the night in jail. Let them fend for themselves in the courts. Let them serve their sentences.

That’s a bad parent. A good parent would do what they could to see that their children come out of this with as few bruises as possible, and then work on correcting their behavior with discipline and regulation of behavior.

Seven years ago, Phil Gramm and others of his ilk turned the markets into an unregulated mess, and this melt-down was predicted 7 years ago. Phil Gramm isn’t the bad parent. He is the guy who gave the children on Wall Street the idea to go out and shoplift in the first place.

Phil Gramm and others of his ilk should be the first to be stripped of all wealth in this bailout.

And the entire bunch should be exiled to a small deserted island in the Caribbean where they can have all of the unregulated free markets they want.

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