“I’ve always believed that America’s government was a unique political system — one designed by geniuses so that it could be run by idiots. I was wrong. No system can be smart enough to survive this level of incompetence and recklessness by the people charged to run it.” Thomas L. Friedman in today’s NY Times.
The financial crisis just seems to get bigger the more you understand it. But the problem with this country is that the people screaming the loudest have the least understanding of the mechanics of the economy and the most myopic view of the world and this moment in history. Which makes the prospects for the election even more scary. The very idea that we should have the best and the brightest grappling with the big decisions has become another of the Republican’s sneering points. In their spin cycle “those elites with Harvard educations” cannot possibly be a better choice to lead our government than a hockey mom who barely made it through college and admits she doesn’t read (not to mention her running mate who barely made it through college and admits he knows nothing about the economy– so he depends dear friends like Phil Gramm to advise him.)
Yesterday as I was out canvassing for Obama, I met all kinds of people. Many were thankfully already on the Obama bandwagon, but the ones who were not had a strange variety of reasons why they weren’t. There were the obvious “throw them all under a truck” types. But one sort that I have run into more than once this election was the former Hillary backer who is now on the fence. I cannot fathom how you could go from supporting Hillary to backing McCain — much less Palin. The reason I was given at one house was that Michelle Obama was too strong and would be telling Barack what to do. Now this was a Hillary supporter and though I didn’t ask, I am pretty sure she voted for Bill. Did she worry about Hillary telling Bill what to do back then? And then if you were a supporter of Hillary’s women’s rights stance, how in the name of God could you possibly vote for the “Roe v Wade must be overturned” team?
There were the already McCain supporters who bought into the “Obama will raise my taxes” line and though I didn’t ask, I am pretty sure given the neighborhood, they were not making $250,000+ a year. One man we talked with was a small business owner who was staunchly Republican “because the Democrats are going to turn the country into a socialist one like [sneer] Europe.” You can only argue so far and only if you like the sport because these guys are too far invested in the lies to be brought back by any reasonable argument.
The interesting thing about this current economic crisis is that you hear the same reasons used for the bailout and against it. People should not have gotten into the debt and the banks should not have been able to extend this debt so far that we ended up here. I don’t think anyone disagrees with that. But the remedy — there’s the rub. Let the banks go under? Fine as long as it isn’t your bank. Or as long as you only have $100,000 in it. Ignore it and let the market take care of it? I think that is how we got here. Allow credit markets to freeze? Not good for Main Street. If we could just seize all the money in upper management of every Wall Street Firm (say for the last 8 years) that was bundling and selling derivatives, perhaps we could get somewhere. And force Phil Gramm and his dear friends to explain what they were doing with our economy since they were in charge.
I THINK EVERYONE SHOULD BE ANGRY. WITH OURSELVES FOR TAKING OUR EYES OFF THE BALL. WE CAN COMPLAIN ALL WE WANT ABOUT WALL STREET AND THE GOVERNMENT, BUT ANYONE WHO HAS BEEN READING AND WATCHING SHOULD HAVE HAD AN INKLING. WE SHOULD BE MAD AT BUSH AND THE REPUBLICANS FOR THEIR RECKLESS DEREGULATION, BUT HOW LOUDLY DID ANY OF US YELL OR PROTEST? WE SHOULD BE MAD AS HELL AT WALL STREET AND THE BANKS FOR MAKING SUCH A MESS, BUT HOW MANY OF US (NOT ME BUT..) GOT RICH IN THIS MARKET? HOW MANY OF US BOUGHT HOUSES AND WATCHED WITH GLEE AS THE PRICES JUST CLIMBED AND CLIMBED AND NEVER THOUGHT THAT THERE IS SOMETHING SERIOUSLY WRONG WITH THIS? AND WHEN THE SUBPRIME MORTGAGE MESS CAME UP IN THE NEWS, WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TAKE A SERIOUS LOOK AT IT? I THINK THE ONES I AM MOST ANGRY WITH ARE THE ECONOMISTS. WHO THE HELL ARE THESE PEOPLE AND WHAT DO THEY REALLY KNOW? I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN OF THE OPINION THAT THEY KNOW NOTHING AND NOW THE ONLY GOOD THING TO TAKE FROM THIS FIASCO IS A BIG FAT PAT ON MY OWN BACK THAT I WAS RIGHT. RAH RAH FOR ME! OY!
But now we have to do something or things will melt down. Or so they say. From my seat, being homeless and unemployed, it is not a pretty picture. I was talking a few weeks ago about starting a business of my own. Is my timing really bad or what?