This week congress got up and congratulated themselves for passing a 700 billion dollar “rescue plan” that will help to stop the hemorrhaging of our economy. Why are they congratulating themselves!? Isn’t getting together and voting on bills to help our country the very description of their job? They should have been apologizing. The American people deserve an “I’m sorry our leadership failed. Had we done an effective job, it never would have come to this in the first place.”
While I am not one for rewarding Wall Street ‘fat cats’ for their downright greed and immoral behavior, there is no one who can effectively argue that government shouldn’t have stepped in. For better or worse, our economy runs on credit, and without this bill it would have dried up. Already, it is harder to get loans and mortgages than it was 6 months ago. Employers use credit to to pay their employees, business’s use it to run day-to-day operations, and average people use it to buy essential needs like gas, food and clothing. Credit running dry in this country would bring the economy to a screeching halt. We cannot afford – both literally and figuratively – for that to happen.
Thankfully, congress added some things to make this bill more appealing than the original proposal from Henry Paulson. Paulson basically wanted a blank check with no oversight at all. Obviously that wasn’t going to fly, but the current bill is not all roses either. There is no relief for those in foreclosure written into this bill which is why it changed from a “bailout” to a “rescue plan.” Congress is not “bailing out” those who bought homes they couldn’t afford. Paradoxically, it seems to me that they are very much bailing out Wall Street, so to me this still seems a lot like a “bailout.” The bill is also stuffed with pork
Tucked into pages 262 and 263 of the bill, for example, are provisions that will aid the manufacturers of “certain wooden arrows designed for use by children.” The bill will exempt the arrows from an excise tax of 39 cents. There are also tax breaks for race-track owners, for rum imported from Puerto Rico, for worsted wool makers, Hollywood film and television production companies and on and on.
However, it does give congress oversight, and it ends the golden parachutes to CEO executives. Thank g-d for that! I cannot believe these CEO’s who ran their business’s to the ground, destroying tons of lives in the process and yet walked away with millions. And surprisingly, it happened time and time again. Hopefully, this bill will put a stop to that. Still though, while intellectually I realize the necessity of the legislation, I cannot help but feel that the little guy is still drowning while Wall Street has been given a life raft. I am not an economist, nor do I have extensive financial knowledge. I am just a regular American citizen, worried about paying the bills and restoring some faith in our economy.
So, congress passed a bill, but this is far from over. Whoever is elected President this November will have a lot to deal with. Many of the promises made by both candidates will have to be shelved until this crisis has been overcome. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we are looking at a major recession coupled with declining home values. As a nation, I am fairly confident that we can dig ourselves out of this – we did it after the Great Depression and again after the Savings and Loan Crisis. But it wont be fast, and it wont be easy.