Friday, September 26, 2008

The Shrinking of America

Are words even necessary anymore?

Lacking anything substantive to do or say and seeing his poll numbers plummet, one of the major party candidates decides the best tactic for his campaign is saying that he's no longer campaigning, a demonstrable lie.

He adds that he's got more important things to do than debate his opponent, so he calls for a postponement of the debate scheduled for tonight. In less than 48 hours, he changes his mind and says the debate will go on as scheduled.

He calls for a bipartisan meeting at the White House to hammer-together a solution to the Financial Crisis, implying that he's the guy--the only guy--that can do it. The meeting takes place, and the savior essentially sits mute throughout it.

On the Bailout Plan itself: It's designed and will be executed by someone, Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson, whose conflict of interest is so obvious and so appalling (former CEO of Goldman Sachs) that if he were acting as a Municipal Court Judge presiding over a traffic ticket case, he would be asked to recuse himself. But, hey, it's a crisis.

This is not meant as a partisan attack on McCain. Frankly, his erratic behavior transcends political issues and makes one focus on his personal suitabilty to hold the office of president.

Obama, though behaving in a calmer, more presidential manner, is not immune from criticism either. He essentially has bought into the Paulson Plan with a few trivial, piddling addendums added to it. Obama's top financial adviser is Robert Rubin. Rubin is currently employed by Citigroup and, just like Paulson, is a former CEO of Goldman Sachs.

Did the Founders envision a country with a two-party system where both parties find it necessary to be advised on financial matters by what is essentially one person? They may have separate social security numbers, but for all intents and purposes, Rubin=Paulson. Why should anyone expect the Democrats to come up with some proposal of their own that would be fundamentally different from Paulson's?

And, finally, the dearth of specific information being offered to the Public regarding the cause(s) of the crisis, the reason(s) that the Paulson Plan is the best plan, and who exactly will be the primary direct beneficiaries of the plan is another astounding example of the contempt for the Public that its rulers have.

Maybe we should ask Putin or Palin to come up with some alternative plans to Paulson's---at least they wouldn't bring the conflict of interest baggage to the table.

Footnote: Washington Mutual was seized by the FDIC last night, the largest bank failure in US history, but nowadays barely front page news.

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