Friday, September 26, 2008

Unstable

The country faces a terrible financial crisis. That much is certain.

As a result of Treasury Secretary Paulson's dire warnings, echoed last night by President Bush in his televised address, there is panic cascading through families and businesses nationwide. While the fear mongering maybe a political calculation on the part of the administration to force through their proposal in congress, that doesn't the change the fact that we should be very, very afraid about our economic future: Unemployment is rising, the economy is on the precipice of recession, we have gone from 4 trillion dollars of national debt, to almost 10 trillion dollars during the span of the Bush administration. The deficit is literally exploding and now our financial institutions are in disarray.

We the people need a solution from our leaders. The marketplace requires immediate action and re-assurance. We cannot try to solve all our problems with this current bill. That requires extensive study, debate and leadership and should follow the bailout, in my opinion, along with Hillary Clinton's proposal of a moratorium on housing foreclosures.

What's lacking in our economy is confidence in the fundamentals. There is no confidence in the President, in the treasury, and in Ben Bernanke. The economy is inflating and deflating on nothing but hot air. We need a more solid and less dramatic approach to economics akin to the financial management of Robert Rubin in the 1990's, the informed leadership of President Clinton, and also, to be fair, the fiscal discipline of the Republican congress (before they evolved into closet socialists expanding the role of government and spending beyond record levels).

So given the crisis, and the urgent requirement for a speedy and surefooted solution, what does John McCain do? He panics.

At first he suggests the fundamentals of our economy our strong. Then he opposes the bailout plan, before supporting it. Then after supporting the plan he tries to scupper it in today's meeting with Bush and Obama, so he can come up with a new proposal that he can take credit for. He says that as President he would fire the SEC chairman Christopher Cox, even though a President doesn't have the power to do that.

And, now, as his poll numbers plummet in critical battleground states in Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Indiana, Colorado, and Wisconsin, he decides that what the delicate negotiations between Democrats and Republicans on the hill require is an infusion of Presidential politics. Now instead of focusing on what can be agreed upon by all parties, we are going to have a drawn out procession of political posturing on both sides, jeopardizing the economy even further. McCain says he's suspending his campaign, but the reality is that he's continuing to run ads, send out surrogates, and give interviews to network news.

Ironically, after spending the entire campaign suggesting that Obama puts politics before country, it's McCain that has put his political ambitions above his integrity and the nation at every turn. He opposed the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans precisely because of the exponentially growing national debt, and yet, running for the Republican Presidential nomination he changed his position for political expediency. He promised an honorable campaign without any negative advertising, and then proceeded to run ads about Britney Spears and Paris Hilton at a time of national crisis. He flat out lied about Obama's desire to teach sex education to kindergarten children, while also suggesting, disingenuously, that Obama had called Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin a pig, when McCain had said exactly the same words about Hillary Clinton.

The truth is that Democrats have to do what's in the best interest of the country. If the Republican's won't agree to this urgent deal to assist our financial institutions then I believe they should press ahead and pass the bill without their support. It may not be politically beneficial for Obama, but right now, it's what the country needs.