Friday, December 12, 2008

Senate Republicans crash car (bailout)

By Rick Morris

Ah, nothing like a good game of chicken while the global economy teeters in the balance. Tonight, Senate Republicans destroyed, for now, the Big Three deal financial deal pending in Congress.

Now, I'm probably more fiscally conservative than at least 90% of that caucus, but I find this move absolutely insane, just like the insipid GOP posturing during the TARP bill voting. Republicans have spent money like drunken sailors since the moment Dubya hit town and they pick this time to take a symbolic stand -- while offering no other concrete scenarios??? World markets are tanking as this news is settling in while the same "let 'em fail" doofuses who told us the Lehman failure would be "ain't no thang but a chicken wang" try to convince us yet again that the chain effect of devastation Detroit's collapse would cause would be harmless. Might I note that the Lehman knockout ended up costing taxpayers more in the end by necessitating TARP -- and that taxpayers would be on the hook for way more caysh down the road if the Big Three cratering drags the entire weak economy down further.

The move for any sane politician -- or political movement -- is to get through this crisis pragmatically, understanding that any emergency calls for emergency measures. When the "reset" button gets hit as we're coming out at the other end and the calculus for how best to move forward long-term is being shaped, hold fast to principle then. THAT'S when you're going to need a strong political hand, when the new order of the next few decades is being shaped in terms of regulatory policy and overall governmental philosophy on the economy. To end up holding pathetic cards at that time because you ineptly played into every stereotype of the "do-nothing Republican who only bails out his rich Wall Street friends" would be unforgivable.

God help me, George W. Bush, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are actually right about something (even if the details of their plans need to be completely overhauled). What the heck is this world coming to?

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