Thursday, October 2, 2008

Rescued by a Sinking Lifeboat?

Does a rescue count as a rescue if the lifeboat sinks?

What if the lifeboat does not sink until after Election Day?

Only the atmosphere of political gamesmanship in Washington makes this a complicated question. It should be obvious to all that a short-term “rescue” of a few financial companies does no good in the end if the rescue sinks the whole economy.

I try to imagine the thoughts that go through some of the best minds in Washington. It has to be something like this:

“If I vote no, nothing will happen, but some people might think a crisis was threatening and I didn’t respond.

“If I vote yes, the economy is toast — but that won’t be till after the election, and I’ll deal with it then.”

I have to apologize for the unflattering things I have said about Lou Dobbs in the past, because yesterday morning he had the most insightful description I’ve found of what is going on in Washington now. In an interview, he put it this way: “What we are watching are business ‘leaders’ who won’t surface and put their faces before the American public who are hysterical. Absolutely hysterical. These are not leaders of moment. They are not leaders of great character or vision.” See the whole interview:

Lou Dobbs: Hooray for those who defeated bailout

Michael Moore may be just a filmmaker, but the rescue plan he put together yesterday puts the one that came from Henry Paulson to shame. Step 1: Appoint a special prosecutor. Read the whole plan:

Here’s How to Fix the Wall Street Mess

You don’t have to agree with everything in Mike’s Rescue Plan to see that it is possible to address the problems in the economy without a giveaway program for millionaires so massive that it could sink the whole economy.

The level of cynicism in Washington thinking can be stupefying. Just watching people think that way can make you cynical too.

But wait. You do not want someone in Washington determining how cynical you should be. If you let them control you that way, then they’ve got you where you want you — watching and complaining but not doing anything that might interfere with their grip on power.

And there are simple things you can do. An expanded version of the same disastrous Wall Street bailout package that was voted down on Monday will come up again for a House vote before the week is over, so today would be a good day to telephone or email your Representative, even if you have done so before, to say, “Please vote NO on the Wall Street bailout and save the U.S. dollar.”

Something you can do that is even easier is to register and vote. There is still time to register if you are eligible to vote, and it takes only a few minutes to do. If you are already registered, you can verify that you are still registered, and that too takes just a minute or two. Voting is important because it is the one thing that tells elected representatives that they have to be on their best behavior. When less than half of the eligible voters cast a ballot, politicians figure they can do anything they want. When more than half of the voters vote, politicians sit up and take notice. That is why it is so important for lots of voters to vote on Election Day. Here is a new Hollywood movie, released yesterday, about some of the reasons why you might want to vote: