Freeze spending, reduce mortgage payments…

October 8, 2008

(Copyright 2008)


By Tony Walther

The big news to me out of the so-called debate in Nashville Tuesday night was that John McCain might call for an across the board spending freeze if the financial crisis warranted, and that he also announced a sketchy proposal for buying up home loans and renegotiating them at their diminished value. He claimed it was his own personal idea’ with the indication that this would be separate from the just-passed $700 billion bailout bill.

On the other hand, although he vowed to give health care equal priority to other pressing problems, he made it clear he does not believe in government involvement in health care. So, I don’t know what he really means there. Well, actually I do know. He means status quo. If you can afford it, you get it, if not you don’t, unless you have zero dollars and then you might get in on an existing government program (although McCain apparently does not believe in such programs). McCain proposes a tax credit for health care and then wants to tax employer health plans (that is Obama’s version of what McCain offers. McCain does not clearly explain the tax part).

Fact checking aside, it was what I would consider a tie but it is clear that Barack Obama sees government as an agent for people in general, while McCain, well I’m not sure what he thinks government’s obligation is, except perhaps to fight war. He does call for energy independence and other programs, but does not want to raise taxes (taxes seem kind of necessary to fund things) and calls for the mostly unspecified cuts in spending. He did mention that there is waste in the defense budget that he would cut (he has said that before).

The instant polls indicate that Obama won the debate. I saw it more as a tie, but thought most of the time Obama expressed more direct concern for individuals. McCain’s direct mortgage rescue might be an exception.

As far as foreign policy, I felt it was a wash. I just don’t see a major difference, except that McCain is a little more insistent that some sort of victory (something he does not define) be attained in Iraq. Since we occupied the country, I am not sure what more we can do, except keep occupying it and hope that the violence subsides over time or turn it over as soon as possible to the Iraqis. Both want to press on in Afghanistan.

The candidates were asked at least twice what the $700 Billion Wall Street bailout does for the people (as opposed to Wall Street investment bankers). Neither one of them answered. At least I did not catch an answer (the transcript will be available soon on the web, I’m sure).

Tom Brokaw asked each candidate to prioritize their actions on health, energy, and entitlement reform to include Social Security. Obama said he would call for a 10-year program to gain energy independence just as JFK initiated the moon landing program, which was accomplished in less than a decade. He ranked health care as number two and then listed education (not on the questioner’s list, I thought).

McCain said he’d do everything at once. But he also suggested that Social Security would have to be cut (and if I got that incorrect, I’ll admit in after I read the transcript, but that is what he seemed to say. He may have been suggesting that unless something is done, the fund will run out). Later he said that he felt the Social Security funding problem could be resolved via bi-partisan study and negotiation as done during the Reagan administration. He said a special commission would probably be needed to resolve the medicare funding issue, which he called “tougher.”

I was impressed that McCain claimed that he was concerned for the environment and said that he has disagreed with the Bush administration on the issue (and I think he might find he disagrees with his vice presidential candidate too).

McCain supports nuclear power.

I did not hear Obama say he supports nuclear. He does call for increased efforts on alternative energy, using the moon-shot approach, as I already mentioned.

And really what more useful can I say. You have to have watched the debate and/or read the transcript on the web.

McCain as usual tried to portray Obama as too inexperienced in foreign affairs and military matters, but Obama stood his ground and demonstrated that he is up on the issues.

There were no major breakthrough proposals or answers concerning how to solve the nation’s financial crisis.

P.s. In my last blog I rewrote the lead and said that I would not vote for anyone who would not give a specific answer. Well both candidates fudged a little. I may have to go back on that – don’t know.

McCain thinks Palin presidential, that says it all

October 7, 2008

(Copyright 2008)


By Tony Walther

I will not vote for a candidate who refuses to answer questions directly, and especially if they go off on to a different subject. If both candidates play that game tonight, then I will vote for a third party candidate or perhaps not vote at all. And I think if I hear one “talking point,” which as far as I am concerned is nothing more than a ready-to-go piece of propoganda candidates carry around, that is going to be one heck of a turn-off.

These are desperate times, and I just don’t have the patience for games as usual. I live in California, so my vote likely does ot count due to our electoral college system (which I feel should be abolished). The system was designed to help the smaller states. But California is the most populous state in the union and yet because it is winner take all and because it is believed to be solidly in the Obama camp (whether we support Obama or McCain) in essence it makes no difference because it’s a foregone conclusion (unless a whole lot of folks said what’s the use and failed to vote. Many are already voting, with absentee ballots going out now).

They say it’s going to take time for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout to work. Well with the nation’s economy and that of the world seemingly disintegrating around us, someone better step on it.

Certainly that should be the main topic at tonight’s debate. It’s a town hall format, so I guess it’s up to the folks there.

We know that Barack Obama has had some tenuous association with a guy involved with a 60s and 70s radical movement that bombed government buildings and did result in some deaths. But Obama was just a child when this guy was doing that. Later when Obama was grown up and got into politics their paths crossed (it’s been written about – I’ve mentioned it myself in two of my blogs). There is no evidence Obama talked or conspired with the man about anything subversive. The man, William “Bill” Ayers, is nowadays a college professor.

And we know John McCain has for three decades played footsie with his big money buddies in Washington because pretty much that is what Republican (and Democratic) lawmakers do. The big money folks are more fun to hang around with and they come in handy when you need campaign funds. We know the whole sordid story about McCain being part of the Keating five, going to bat for a guy (Charles Keating) who bilked oldsters out of millions of dollars. McCain has said it was a mistake on his part.

I have yet to read anything sinister about Obama’s connections with Ayers (since they came long after Ayers’ radical days). While I have nothing but contempt for Ayers, he is not running for president. And apparently there is no connection at all between the two these days. Yes and we know that Obama has had some involvement with some sleazy character named Tony Rezko, a land developer and slum lord who has been convicted of fraud and bribery of public officials. And we know Obama got some type of a sweetheart deal on land adjacent to his home through Rezko. Sounds like Chicago style politics to me.

But there has been months upon months of campaigning with nothing substantial (distasteful maybe) coming out of any of this. Some people are already voting and the official election day is less than a month off. It’s a little late to worry about any of this trash. As far as we know, either McCain or Obama is going to be the new president, no matter what anyone thinks about Ayers and Rezco and Keating.

I would think most folks want to know what each man proposes to do about the fact we are likely for the first time in my 59 years actually headed for the second Great Depression. We’ve had plenty of recessions and downturns, but this one is beginning to look ugly. The frightening thing is even the experts seem to be saying they don’t know exactly what can or should be done.

What we need from the candidates is some specifics and not platitudes or silly things like: “the Democrats just want to tax and spend,” or “The Republicans got us into this mess” (even if it’s partly true). How do we get out of this mess? Just tell us Mr. Candidate, and if we buy your ideas we just might vote for you.

But as I keep saying in this blog, the Democrats will probably emphasize bottom up measures (helping workers and their families and in so doing get folks buying things and thus stimulate consumer spending and getting the economy going). And the Republicans will concentrate on doing things to help big business, under the mantra of cutting taxes (but whose taxes?). Both candidates supported the bailout (I call the Wall Street extortion).

I would hope too that there are questions about the wars and I would hope those questions pin the candidates down (war, pin down, an inadvertent play on words). I really have not seen much difference in their war policies, even though McCain insists that he wants to win (whatever that is) and his opposition wants to “surrender.” Obama has pushed for a timetable (but not an immediate pullout) in Iraq and more or an emphasis on Afghanistan (and McCain now calls for the latter). I don’t see an anti-war or “surrender” candidate there.

McCain has been getting a lot meaner in his tone (I’m not sure how that plays at a town hall meeting).

It now seems that McCain showed reckless judgment when he chose Sarah Palin to be vice president (an office that has the same demand for qualifications as the presidency). So far she has put on one hell of an act, and I have said she definitely has Reagan tendencies that way, but when you examine what exactly she has said and how she has said it (hardly as elegant as Reagan) you see that so far she has only proven that she is qualified to be a head cheerleader, mayor of a small town (probably better suited to be head of the chamber of commerce), governor of Alaska (only because, well she is). Leader of the free world? No.

That pretty well only leaves Obama. He does not have a long record. But he is a U.S. senator, and we pretty much know his life story. It’s been written about and there have been documentaries on TV. And we know he is a thinking man and capable of putting sentences together (that would be refreshing). And he seems willing to listen to others and consider their ideas (that would really be refreshing).

While I can hardly say I have an open mind going into this debate. I certainly will listen. I don’t know which man will win yet and I want to get an indication of what we are in for.

Bail fail, VP debate, rebuilding America…

September 29, 2008

(Copyright 2008)


By Tony Walther

Could this be the beginning of another Great Depression? The $700 Billion Wall Street bailout bill went down to defeat today in the House of Representatives and stocks plunged and there have been bank failures across the globe just preceding this. Apparently there will be no more action on this until tomorrow and maybe not even till Thursday.

My last blog was headlined: Democracy altered bailout, can it kill it? Guess I got my answer. Actually it was democracy and politics. No one wants to take the blame; everyone wants the credit, and there is no way to know what will happen if the bailout (or rescue)  ultimately passes or fails. Leadership is needed, but who can lead?

That was a new lead and now back to my blog as written hours earlier:

The bailout bill is said to be posted on the House Financial Services Committee website, and I know it is posted elsewhere on the web, along with summaries or news stories about it. I only quickly read over a summary on the LA Times site and listened to reports on TV.

As it now stands, the $700 billion would not all be allocated all at once. In some cases the government would buy up bad assets and in some investors would purchase government underwritten insurance on questionable assets. There are also provisions for the government to gain an equity stake in companies benefitting from the program in order that if the market turns around the government can actually make money on the deal. There are also to be curbs on executive pay for firms that take part. All that was from a summary I read in the LA Times.

…. It looks like the upcoming vice presidential debate on Thursday promises to be more exciting than the presidential candidate one this past Friday. How Sarah Palin could possibly stand up to Joe Biden is a wonder to me, but then again, I am often surprised at the outcomes of things (like that borefest last Friday). But let’s pray that Sarah does surprise us all. We can’t afford even the possibility that she would become president some day if her past performance, especially before Katie Couric, is any example of her knowledge and abilities. Just poor Sarah’s luck that Katie would finally start acting like a news person again and she, Sarah, was her first victim. I don’t care for Mrs. Palin’s politics. I think, however, she is a well meaning person catapulted into something that is way out of her league. It’s a little sad, and a lot embarrassing. The word is that she is sequestered down at the McCain Sedona spread in Arizona cramming for the big test. My guess is that she will bend pre-programmed talking points into an answer for each question whether it fits or not. 

… Something strangely left out of Friday’s foreign policy debate between John McCain and Barack Obama was what is going on down Venezuela way. Russian war ships are set to exercise with that country’s navy in November and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez claims his country may work on a nuclear power deal with Russia. As I wrote in a previous blog, that would have been a cause for alarm and amounted to a threat to start World War III back in the Cold War days, i.e. , the Cuban Missile Crisis of the early 60s. And what about the Monroe Doctrine?

… And back to the economic thing. From what I am reading I do see the signs that life in America is not going to be the same with or without the latest bailout bill. My hope is that while there could be some discomfort it will serve as a kind of catharsis and then we will forge ahead with a new and more prudent but still vibrant way of doing business that will eventually lead to a new prosperity.

We really need to find some way to declare victory in the Middle East and come home.

Four thousand plus dead, thousands more wounded, and as much as a trillion dollars invested so far to help nations that fight internally among one another instead of working together to be free. And Iraq keeps its oil money and forces us to spend our own treasure. In my opinion we should get the oil revenues because we invested in it with our money and blood.

There was no reason to go into Iraq other than the oil. And as far as Afghanistan goes, why do we have to send a whole army to get one man? Originally we went into Afghanistan because they apparently were harboring Osama bin Laden, the admitted master mind of 9/11. It seemed as if Iraq had essentially by its actions put itself at a state of war with us. But after all this time it seems foolish to use an army to hunt one elusive man. Everyone knows that we are trying to create by blood sweat and tears a Middle East that is friendly to us. It’s not worth it.

Some say it is better to fight “them” over there than to fight “them” here. I don’t know. I think we need to rebuild our own country and that we are running out of money to fight “them” over there. I say let’s put our resources into the job that needs to be done at home and by God if “they” want to fight us here we’ll be ready.

The debate, Newman death, credit woes…

September 27, 2008

(Copyright 2008)


By Tony Walther

It’s the morning after the great and flat debate (yawn), but I interrupt this blog to note that I just read that actor Paul Newman died at the age of 83 on Friday of cancer.

I think the first time I ever saw him on screen was in “The Hustler” in 1961. I had just recently reached the age of puberty and I was at the movie theater in the old downtown of Yuba City, Ca. I went to the show by myself and saw this incredible black and white movie – and I interrupt myself here again to note that once when my granddaughter was younger she was watching TV and asked, “why is it (a movie, not The Hustler) in black and white?” Well, I don’t know why they chose to shoot The Hustler in black and white, but then again I know that it would not have had the effect if it was in color. And I don’t even know if it was considered a great movie. But both Jackie Gleason playing legendary pool player Minnesota Fats and Newman playing a young hot shot hustler “Fast Eddie” Felson were at their best.

Newman had his boyish good looks (nearly all his life) but he also had what great actors all have, that certain something that made him unique, otherwise he’d just be another pretty face (and I hope I’m not sounding gay here – hey, I have a wife, two children and two grandchildren). And he could really get into character, method acting, I think they call it.

Gleason of course was a comedian primarily, but a natural-born actor, who you got the impression just automatically went into a roll without effort – he certainly did so in The Hustler, with only a few short lines, a puff or two on a cigarette and gestures.

Fast Eddie was addicted to gambling via pool, and booze and would forsake all, even his girl friend, for it.

But a great thing about Mr. Newman, the real person, is that unlike many in his trade, he stayed with his wife, actress Joanne Woodward, since 1958. They had acted together in the movie “The Long Hot Summer.”

….. I’m still reading debate reactions (I gave my own immediate reaction as soon as the debate was over in my last blog). And I’m trying to scan the web to see what the polls suggest as to the outcome. So far I get the sense that it was, as I initially concluded, a draw. But if you were for Obama going in, you may have felt he won and if you were a McCain partisan, you probably thought he won (in my immediate reaction blog I gave the edge to McCain and I’m definitely not a McCain partisan, just different I guess). I think the Wall Street Journal concluded McCain won on foreign policy and Obama on domestic policy. Although I definitely favor Obama, I don’t think he gave a knock out performance (one thing I read was that McCain was too mean, and Obama too nice).

And I think one of the problems is the debate formats they use nowadays. It’s been so long since I have seen what I would consider a real debate – seems like the last one I saw was William F. Buckley vs. I don’t know who on whether we should give up the Panama Canal (we did under Carter).

Correct me if I’m wrong, but in a debate, shouldn’t both contestants be given a topic and then each one presents his case, with each getting a rebuttal (with the moderator’s only function being to begin and end it and make sure rules are followed)? I think that gives the listener a more coherent and complete message and forces the debater to lay out a case and support it with evidence. Some might think that unfair because it might give a polished debater an advantage. But I suggest that if you are running for President of the United States, you don’t have to be a silver tongued orator, but you ought to have to be able to give a full explanation of your position and be able to support it. There was far too much bickering back and forth between the two on semantics more than anything, or on whether one or the other voted on some version of a bill. The multi-multi question back and forth and back and forth method to me is too confusing and lacks focus and serious discussion. And this is serious.

We’re not looking for details here candidates; we want your broad policy outlook, even though of course you may have to make some references to individual actions to state your case.

I’ll move on – maybe I’ll do a full day after or two-day after debate review later (or not).

…I’m reading that the powers that be are still hoping to get some version of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill into law or all-but into law over this weekend. And I have read in a couple of places where people have reminded the public that it was not just Wall Street who got carried away but anyone who is over-extended on their credit or who went into a mortgage and should have realized they had no ability to keep it up. It all adds to the mound of bad debts that have clogged our financial system. I still say just cancel everyone’s debt and let us start over again – but then I suppose that would make everything worthless, I don’t know.

As little as I know about economics, I have written a lot this past week or so. I have noticed that nearly a week after we were told the world would come to an end if congress did not pass Bush’s bailout with no strings attached for Wall Street everything is still standing, okay a couple of banks have gone under. I still say, take it a step at a time and along the way let’s revamp the system, not perpetuate the problem.

For some strange reason, business people, who often or usually consider themselves conservative, have over these past many decades pushed folks to charge things up on credit cards and the real estate industry, abetted by Wall Street financiers, and yes Democratic (and Republican, I think) politicians pushed for everyone to get in on home ownership and either dropped qualifications or looked the other way as to the probability that folks could really pay back their mortgages.

The old timers were right. They shied away from credit and saved back, putting their money out at interest, knowing that better a lender than a borrower be (although someone has to borrow for someone to lend).

And the inflation in housing caused by easy credit hurt renters too. They have to pay high rents for landlords who don’t own property free and clear and may be behind on their own payments and property taxes.

I’m so far out of my league in economics that probably no one would want to pay attention to me, but I think there is something to be said for a cash society. In capitalism, there does need to be capital, and in order for there to be capital (at least the kind with any liquidity), there needs to be savings so financial institutions can take those savings and lend them out at interest. If there is caution and careful rules, such as requiring sufficient reserves, things can work out fine.

And now I’m really getting in too deep. But I think that for the most part capital should be used to invest in things such as the production of food and durable goods, and the provision of services, all of which, along with jobs created in the process, make up our quality of life. But when you reduce the whole thing to some type of gambling game in which you just borrow money and lend it out and then turn around and borrow money on the money you lent out and so on, that can lead to too much wealth in too few hands and a reduction in the quality of life for the nation as a whole. I know that some of the financial trading has the utility purpose of I think they call it adding liquidity to the market. There has to be safeguards, though, in order to prevent the near catastrophe we are told we are facing.

I apologize or beg forgiveness to anyone who has read this far and understands this whole thing far better than I and feels he or she has just suffered a fool. But don’t get too haughty, I think I get it better than you may realize.

Mr. Wall Street: ‘Your money or your life!’

September 26, 2008

(Copyright 2008)


By Tony Walther

The word this morning is that John McCain will take part in the debate this evening and apparently those pushing the $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill are hell bent on getting it done today (tonight).

 I find myself in the strange position of being on the side of those House Republicans who yesterday were holding out for some different type of bill that would use private money (government guarateed, I guess) instead of the straight bailout. I don’t know what the status of all that is now and whether they were sincere or just making a show for the folks back home who are skeptical.

I thought the political cartoon in my local newspaper this morning said it all: A big fat cat Wall Street tycoon was sitting up against a wall and begging to a little older couple with a sign that reads: “Please get me out of debt, or I’ll be forced to ruin us all.” The little slender old man is standing there with his hands in his pockets while the wife hands the sobbing tycoon some cash from her purse. I think we are all asked to be that lady.

It is hard to swallow that a whole society can be dependent upon those who borrow and leverage and borrow on what they borrowed and leverage and anyway, make money on money they never had in the first place (and pardon me if I don’t tell this is strict or correct financial language, I’m a layman).

Perhaps as a society it is our collective fault for not paying enough attention to the inner workings of our economy and letting ourselves be misled by leaders who don’t understand it themselves and that goes for those in both major parties.

And I am still scratching my head trying to figure out what the urgency is in this bailout thing. I realize it would not be a good thing to let the financial market go down the tubes in a panic because it thought phony money was not available anymore. But folks, if it is all that bad, we need to fix the system. That should be the urgency, and that may take a little more time.

And by the by, I plan to watch the debate tonight. I think this could be the most important presidential debate that has ever taken place. I plan to blog on it afterwards. And now for anyone who is interested, my previous blog follows:

I now recall seeing an earlier tape – was it Monday? – of Republican Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby asking Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake if they had thought of an alternative to the $700 billion Wall Street bailout plan. I don’t think Paulson answered – he seemed to just sit there bewildered and speechless (maybe he did mumble something), anyway I didn’t think much of it.

But a self-satisfied Shelby, chairman of the senate banking committee, came out of the specially-called Bush meeting Thursday afternoon before anyone else and told reporters: “There’s no deal.”

Where it all stands today, who knows? It’s like a Howie Mandel Deal- No Deal game.

What will Wall Street, picked up Thursday by hopes for a deal, think today?

This $700 Billion giveaway plan for Wall Street is one of the most bizarre, implausible and maybe even frightening turn of events ever. A Republican president proposed to bail out gambling investors on Wall Street, threatening that failure to do so would be the near instant ruination of the whole nation’s economy, with implications world wide.

(No one argues that there is not something terribly wrong right now with the economy. No one, not even the administration, though, is claiming to know exactly how to fix it.  Supposedly, the government might eventually recoup losses – make money, I don’t know – in the plan to buy up bad debt. While the official price tag is put at $700 Billion, the $1 trillion figure is often used, especially when the already-approved bailouts are counted.)

And it gets stranger all the time. Now we have Democrats seemingly pushing for a quick movement on a bill, but one with “safeguards” and help for some distressed homeowners who can’t make their mortgages and provisions to prevent Wall Street executives from getting multi-million dollar perks after receiving tax-payer dollars to bail them out. Some Republicans are on board too, but reportedly some 100 House Republicans are not.

A poll I heard on Thursday said that one third of the voters are against it, one third for it, and one third undecided.

The latest is that the objecting Republicans are proposing that it all go back to the drawing board and that a plan that would use private capital (probably much less than $700 billion), with some government incentives, such as tax breaks, be presented. And actually, that in principle, sounds reasonable to me.

It’s hard to tell what the motivations by the various parties are.

I suppose the original idea just to hand over $700 billion with no questions asked was never popular with most Republicans, let alone Democrats, especially since it was from a Republican president. On the other hand, they might have supported it if they really thought the world would come to an end otherwise. And some Republicans may have deviously thought, well at least it will help business and if the Democrat Barack Obama is elected it will tie his hands somewhat in getting social legislation through.

Then came the outcry from the constituency. Especially staunch conservatives or just citizens with a sense of fair play. You can’t just say when the man on the street makes a poor or unfortunate financial decision that it is his problem, don’t go crying to government, but when Wall Street investors make a bad or a just plain reckless move, the taxpayer must bail them out.

Meantime, Democrats saw the hypocrisy of the bailout and the cost, but thought, oh well, if it must be done let’s at least tack on some programs we want – and that was good politics.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain did not know what to think. But now he seems to be pushing some type of bailout (he was against it before he was for it), what type, we don’t know. And of course, meantime, he has suspended his campaign and threatened not to take part in tonight’s (Friday) presidential debate. Many think this is all a ploy. I suspect for the most part it is. It is a rather weak argument to suggest one cannot run for president and make decisions at the same time. Isn’t that after all, making decisions, pretty much the job of the president? Why even George W. Knows that – “I’m the Decider” (although not-so-much now).

Both presidential candidates were at Thursday’s meeting at the invitation of Bush. Actually McCain apparently was the one who came up with the idea to drop everything and put the debate on hold so he could run back to Washington to play hero (he didn’t seem to get anywhere Thursday). Obama reluctantly agreed. And in a statement late in the day, long after Shelby made his “no deal” announcement, Obama implied that he and McCain due to the politics of the whole thing may have actually been a distraction (of course they are politicians). McCain for his part said he was hopeful something (what?) could be passed soon.

P.S. That Hillary might replace Biden as VP thing I inserted as a new lead in my last blog came out of the Drudge Report (as reported somewhere else) and the report said that while it was just a rumor, the usual myth debunkers, such as Snopes and one the Obama campaign has set up, are neither confirming nor denying it. I usually would not bother with something so thin, but I couldn’t pass it up. It seems plausible (if a little Eagleton-like risky). It’s hard to know where the presidential race stands now with polls contradicting each other. Some say McCain is falling on his face, others say he’s made some crafty or clever moves, such as the suspending campaign move and picking Palin – and then there’s always the race card.  And if Obama says he’s “behind Biden one hundred percent”, don’t quit your day job Joe.

Rumor Only: Hillary might replace Biden…

September 25, 2008

(Copyright 2008)


By Tony Walther

It’s just a rumor, but the news is that Hillary Clinton might replace Joe Biden on the Obama ticket. And I think that might be the winning ticket. Hillary has one heck of a lot of supporters and women always decide the vote anyway and faced with the choice of Palin or Clinton, c’mon one is steeped in politics at the higher level and one is definitely not. One is progressive and one is regressive. The rumor is that Biden will drop out for health reasons. He already publicly said that Hillary would have been a better choice. Everyone probably thought, well Joe is just running off at the mouth, and maybe so, but maybe there was a message there…..

And now the rest of my blog, which was previously posted:

Despite a massive public outcry against the $700 billion (plus?) Wall Street bailout I read in the news this morning that quick action is expected on it, meaning it will sail through, which would mean that lawmakers and the administration are going one way and the American people the other.

Everything I’ve read and heard in the last 24 hours indicates that public sentiment is against the bailout, although it is too early to know whether Bush’s address had an effect, but it was only good on a quick backgrounder on the problem, with no credible sales job (well except to threaten that the whole economy would fall apart with out it – but why? And couldn’t there be a better and more prudent and more capitalist way of handling things?).

One item I read about it said there is a clause in the proposed Bush bailout bill that gives total authority to the treasury secretary and says it cannot be legally challenged by a court or administrative agency. Well that sounds like a Bush tactic. I don’t see how that can be constitutional, but that has never bothered Bush.

Now he won’t be the executive for long, but he seems to want to get this thing through awful bad. Maybe he and his buddies need the money they lost.

I notice former president Bill Clinton is pushing hard for this bailout too.

And I also have noticed that Bill is not campaigning all that hard for Obama. I watched him the other night on David Letterman and he barely mentioned Obama, except to finally give him the obligatory Democratic endorsement. But He went on and on about what a great man John McCain was and how good of a friend McCain was to Hillary and him. And today I read that he’s gone on TV and said that McCain had good intentions in suspending his campaign and wanting to delay Friday’s debate. I thought that too at first, but quickly saw that it was more of a ploy, a political tactic to steal the show and appear as a statesman. Apparently he can’t vote on the bailout and run for president at the same time.

I also just read an article that says that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation may need $150 Billion due to increased bank failures. The FDIC is of course the entity that insures everyone’s bank account up to $100,000. I would think it would be far more important to refresh that fund than fund the bailout. I realize both can and probably will be done – guess I just don’t understand how the government keeps finding a billion here and a billion there, and you know it all adds up to real money as Dirksen said (or supposedly said).

Much of our money comes from loans from the Chinese. A Reuters news service story today (in the Drudge Report) said that Chinese domestic banks have been ordered by their government not to lend money to U.S. institutions during this economic crisis.

The Bush administration tried to ram the bailout through last weekend, no questions asked, but was unsuccessful.

Now it appears that enough compromises have been made, to include help for homeowners and limits on pay packages of executives whose firms get help, to pursuade reluctant lawmakers.

I definitely think the presidential debate should go on Friday and economic policy should be discussed, possibly with foreign policy, the scheduled topic.

Again, if action on the federal level is needed, I think it should be more cautious.

And isn’t it strange we are already hearing that with this economic crisis some of the hoped for social reforms pushed by Obama may have to be put on hold.

Bush policies (war, bad economics): the gift that keeps on taking!

When the top defenders of the free market suddenly change their tune, it is cause for suspicion.