If one charted the heart rates of Wall Street financial workers last week, it would have closely matched the precipitous rises and falls of the market as it followed the news of bankruptcies, possible buyouts, bridge loans and insolvencies. Oil, which had been falling, rose 22% in only days. Gold, already at record highs, rose even higher.
Then, over the weekend, the Treasury, the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission met nonstop with lawmakers. President Bush had proposed providing $700 billion to buy up troubled assets, freeing up the banks to loan money so that consumers could spend. As a house of cards, this one looks ready to crumble if even a slight breeze should blow.
There's been finger pointing at the banks, insurance companies and mortgage firms that are being bailed out. There has been finger pointing by both sides of the aisle in Congress at overpaid executives. Both Presidential candidates have complained about the situation we're in and promised they're the ones to get us out of it; but, neither has actually proposed a solution.
What both candidates and their respective parties know is that all promises made during this campaign season are now moot. There can not be tax cuts when our debt is so enormous. There can't be new programs if they aren't self financing, as the money simply will not be there. What Congress knows is that they passed the bills that eased lending requirements, passed the bills that eliminated oversight, and took the donations from the banks, insurance companies and mortgage firms. NO ONE is innocent in this mess.
And then there is the public.
When our businesses fail, no one bails it out using taxpayer funds.
When we don't pay our bills, creditors cut off our credit, stop payment on our checks, and shut us down.
When multi-billion dollar corporations do the same thing, they have gotten accustomed to the government stepping in and picking up the pieces. They no longer fear failure. The Savings & Loan debacle set the tone, and it has continued with last week's failures.
I find it disturbing that the government is essentially nationalizing the banking industry. If I were an alarmist, I would decry the Socialist moves being made to control every aspect of the free market.
But, I also recognize that failure of this entire sector would paralyze not only our way of life, but also most of the free world. There is a reason that foreign banks are offering to help out with the financing.
For those my age, this is a terrifying time. For those who are still in high school and junior high, it promises to be even more terrifying in the coming years. The United States has sunk into a quagmire of debt and obligation that will go far beyond the term of the next President. It's not about the next four years anymore, it's about the next 20 years and beyond.
Someone asked me if one of the candidates were to win the election, would he get us out of this mess. I answered that it would take that President plus a few more, and a complete house cleaning of ALL of Washington before we are back where we should be. We hang on to our personal elected officials and hope the other voters will get rid of theirs. Maybe it's time we sent the message that NONE of them have done their jobs because they were too busy playing a game of politics, forgetting that down at this level, it involves real people.
It’s all just my opinion, but it’s what I wish would happen.