It’s the end of the money as we know it and I feel fine (largely because I didn’t have any to begin with).
A deal has been made (so they stay) and the carnage continues (Citigroup just bought out Wachovia’s banking interests … but wait? I thought Citigroup was in trouble? Never mind. We’re all screwed.)
As I type, Congress has failed to pass the $700 billion plus bailout. Stocks have plummeted. Down goes the markets 470 points! Make that more than 600! Wait, it won’t stop changing on me. Now it’s around 500. We’re all DOOMED!
We’re all doomed, but I’m not one to scare the jeepers creepers out of people. I’m not going to “suspend” my blog as a result of the crisis like ol’ Scrooge “War hero” McDuck over there. I only say we’ve got serious problems because they was never any guarantee this bailout would work and there’s a good chance it could have made things demonstrably worse, but per usual the Bush Administration waited until the last possible minute to do something about this crisis (I think they spent the latter of two years denying there was even a looming crisis), therefore leaving everyone — Democrats and Republicans — with little time to come up with jack shit.
Leaving us with Henry “Munster” Paulson and Ben Bernanke and their no oversight, “give us the cash or we’ll crash the economy” plan. And both parties tried to make it as palatable as possible, but apparently not enough. The official vote tally was 205 for and 228 against.
On both sides, most vocally amongst the resurgent Libertarian-leaning fiscal conservative Republicans, there was some major balking at bailing out companies who got themselves in this mess. (Ninty-five Dems and 123 Republicans voted “hell no!”) But then there is the horror scenario being pitched by everyone from Paulson to CNBC’s Jim Cramer that VERY BAD THINGS will happen if Wall Street doesn’t get this bailout.
I’m going to translate a recent conversation I heard on MSNBC’s “Hardball” between Cramer and Chris Matthews on this very “no bailout” possibility.
Cramer: This economy is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Matthews: What do you mean, “biblical”?
Cramer: What I mean is Old Testament, Chris, real wrath of God type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes. The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!*
No lie. That’s what I heard, or interpreted. For reals.
The reality is if no bill is passed more banks will fail, more international financial markets will fail and credit will freeze for everyone, not just other banks. Eventually it would become increasingly hard for invidiuals to get loans for homes, cars and small businesses.
The frozen markets mean banks are hoarding cash, making it difficult for businesses and individuals to get much-needed loans. (Full story)
Also in play: news that troubled Wachovia had to sell its banking assets to Citigroup as the financial market crisis raged. A number of European banks also collapsed.
But if the bill had passed the OTHER nightmare scenario would have included the banks getting bailed out, but inflation skyrocketing as the US Treasury prints more money to flush into the lending system, weakening the dollar ever further and raising the prices of everything.
Sure, CEO’s would get paid and banks would stay in business, but if everyone stops spending because they can’t afford anything I don’t know how THAT helps the economy either.
Obviously, there was some cajoling, arm twisting, begging, crying, whatever it takes to get votes changed from no to “yes, take the tax payers money,” at first leaving me to wonder if this is going to turn into a daylight version of the less critical, but highly messed up drug benefit vote where thousands of lobbyists and House Enforcer Tom “The Hammer” DeLay were brow-beating recalcitrant Republicans into backing a plan they barely understood and would learn later, they never would have voted for.
But there’s no Hammer. And Bush, Cheney, et al, don’t scare anyone. Even potential president John McCain, despite “suspending” that campaign wasn’t able to do shizznit to get his team on board. He flirted with joining the revolt, but at the debate admitted tersely that he would vote for the behemouth bailout. And apparently, the house Republicans were upset before over what they called a hyper-partisan speech Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave before the vote.
You potentially doom the country over a speech hurting your feelings? Let’s be real. Those Republicans just didn’t want to vote for that thing. Some Democrats didn’t want to vote for this. Don’t blame Pelois. Did her speech affect those 95 Democrats who said no, too?
The president is all sour patches over the no vote. Congress is all sour patches. I’m all sour patches, but I don’t have much money in the market (just a paltry 401K that is probably worthless right now). But I’m sour patches because this is it. The Bush Administration truly has the opposite version of the Midas touch.
Everything they felt up turned to shit. From the terrorist attacks on 9/11, our relationship with the world, to going to war with the wrong country, inadvertently strengthening Iran and upsetting the power balance in the Middle East by taking out Iraq, to letting people die in the Superdome and drown in the streets of New Orleans, to the spiking of gas prices to “I’m taking the bus” levels, to now the housing crisis which has taken out Wall Street.
Bravo, idiots! Bravo! You ruined everything. I won’t say that Bush is the worst president ever. That title will forever belong to James Buchanan who allowed the South to secede under his watch, eventually causing the Civil War. Last time I check, the Bushie’s have NOT been successful at causing the South to rise again.
But he’s got three-and-a-half more months to find a delightful way to restart what was the most deadly war in United States history!