“The owner says he’s sad to see that things have got so bad
But the captains of industry won’t let him lose
He still drives a car and smokes his cigar
And still he takes his family on a cruise, he’ll never lose”

From the song Ordinary Man written by Peter Hames and sung by Irish singer-songwriter Christy Moore.

Very shortly, the $700bn plan to bailout (is that still the word?) Wall Street will go before the Senate for approval before moving on to the House where it got rejected. The only way to look at this bill is as a stick-in-the-throat bill. Nobody’s happy with it and that’s hardly news. The biggest non-military Government intervention in modern American times goes to those who virulently opposed government for those who needed it the most. Future government plans will have to be compromised and those at the top will still prosper. Even a few days ago one Wall Street trader, quoted in the London Lite newspaper, had the gall to refer to congress members as “chumps”, if memory serves me correctly, after they rejected the plan. Seriously, whoever has a right to pass judgement on the decisions of Congress at this time, it sure as hell ain’t Wall Street. They can maybe give advice in a really humble manner, following it up with “we’re sorry, we’re sorry, we’re sorry” but they are NOT allowed to tell people what to do.

However (big sad sigh), passing this bill is probably the right thing to do. True, when the Bush Administration presented it in it’s original no-strings-attached format and tried to scare everybody into accepting it they acted disgracefully. And maybe the scare that Congress has put through the financial markets by not accepting the renegotiated bill on Monday may cause Wall Street to be less arrogant and allow the representatives of The People of America to drive a suitably hard bargain. But now the time has come to settle this and get things back on an even keel or the consequences could indeed be dire. So I have a few things to say to those involved:

1. To the Democrats who voted against the Bill: Like I said before, I know this plan is really hard to swallow but I hope enough protections and strings have been put in to give some control and protection to the American people. So for now, be prepared to do what you are reluctant to do and in the future show more balls in fighting for the needs of ordinary Americans.

2. To the Republicans who voted against the Bill on ideological anti-interventionist grounds – this ideology is what brought about this mess, giving us extreme boom and bust (stop calling it correction). You may say that in the long run the market will find equilibrium but as John Maynard Keynes famously said “in the long run we are all dead”. Swallow your pride and sort this mess out, even if it takes taxpayer money.

3. To the Republicans who voted against the Bill because of Nancy Pelosi’s “partisan” speech. What the hell is wrong with you? This truly is Political Correctness gone mad. You are acting like a drunk driver who causes an accident and when people criticise him says “let’s not point the finger of blame at this difficult time”. Your administration did blow the surplus, your supporters in Big Finance created the sub-prime market mess and as a result of this, the democratic will of the American people will be compromised, in that if they vote in a Democratic Administration and Legislature, the new governtment won’t be able to deliver the mandate these voters give them. If the house Democrats can overlook this to put the needs of America first, then surely you can get over a few critical wards from “Nasty Nancy”.

4. To Americans who hate seeing the wealthy bailed out – I sympathise completely but this crisis is one economic effect that is actually likely to trickle down quickly. In the short-term it must be stabilised. In the long-run feel free to reject those who would like to, as Grover Norquist said “get it (government) down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub”. We now see the effects of unfettered free markets. In the future it will still be OK to tweak government, to ensure it runs reasonably efficiently and that those in power don’t abuse it but don’t dismiss the importance of government and its potentially positive functions out of hand 

5. To everybody, let’s hope that clear heads prevail, let’s cross our fingers and hope we can ride this one out and create a better  and more stable tomorrow

  1. culturepress says:

    Excellent, very well stated. Point by point.

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