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As Long as We Remember...

October 6, 2008

The People’s Will Not Done

Steven R. Berryman

The People to the government: “A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part!” Or does it?


The government answered, via the House of Representatives, on October 3 at 1:30 P. M.: “People, it’s really your emergency because we have no “Plan B.”


The urgency allows for political cover for the rush to vote NOW!


With many Democrats and Republicans complaining that there was no choice, the Bail-Out bill passed 263 to 171. The Washington Post reported that 32 Democrats switched to a “yes” vote, 14 from the liberal “Congressional Progressive Caucus.”


Not to be left out of the no-win situation, 26 of the Republicans did the switch as well, 11 from the conservative “Republican Study Committee.”


Some House members – in a selfless gesture – stated that by doing the right thing, they could have just gotten themselves voted out. Quite self-serving, considering the source!


Voting up this preposterous plan, replete with add-ons, earmarks, pork, sweeteners, and tax breaks, completes my vision of political selfishness masquerading as selflessness. All I see is a dramatic move towards political self-preservation.


A salient point of the plan was to propose increasing Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Insurance from $100 grand to $250 grand. This also should have been a red flag; a defaulting FDIC due to a run on a bank would be just as impotent as guarantor of either amount!


Common sense does not allow any altruism mysteriously to seep into caucus rooms recently; to act in personal self-interest is to be a member of Congress.


The hand wringing belies and obscures the fact that oversight of our financial systems, however far removed by quasi-governmental institutions, is a responsibility that resides in our Congress.


Our ability to trace this cause backwards is now diminished forever by a new plan.


Evidence aplenty is now appearing that there were emergency “firewalls” being designed into our giant mortgage-packagers for well over a year. We are told that our executive branch turned away from this information in an ostrich-like fashion.


The thinking appeared to be that either the financial dilemma would fix itself via the self-leveling market forces, or, worst case, just forward the mess on to the next administration.


Or the next generation? To our sons and daughters!


There are far more questions than answers:


Why was $700 billion too much for some members to swallow during the first vote, and now the final approved package is just fine at $810 billion?


Why now, in the run up to Election 2008, is this “crisis” issue? This could and should have been acted upon long ago, when we could have taken time for a thoughtful “Plan B” based upon trends and known data. Now this explodes just in time to help take Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s bump to her ticket clean off our radar screen!


What will we do when the State of California asks for a bridge loan from the federal government – to maintain payroll solvency? This has been recently leaked as probable.


What of General Motors – getting its first – taking $25 billion in loan guarantees…to be sure there’s something even available? This happened in the dark.


And when banks holding consumer credit card debt start to feel the sting of rising adjustable loan rates on defaults, what will we do?


Eventually with this trend, the Treasury Department will be forced into a directly inflationary mode of printing money. This will force gas prices up again, as the dollar purchases less.




A quick straw-poll of listeners on Friday’s Blaine Young Show on WFMD- AM 930 was 86 against the plan with three in support. A large number of callers were emphatic “hell no’s,” including our own Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, Republican stalwart.


It should be noted that 6th District Congressman Roscoe Bartlett voted “nay,” as “You cannot privatize rewards while socializing risks,” he said. He voted his conscience, bucking the trend in Congress.


Calls to the White House switch board on this issue were over 98% against the bailout in its second go-around. Congressional comment lines went unanswered due to volume and shut down, and an estimated 95% of callers were negative.


That mattered not.


The people sensed the descent into legislative chaos, but could do nothing.


An early warning sign occurred when semantically the bail-out plan suddenly became the “Rescue Plan.” The lifeboat included bankers and investment houses first. Citizens, presumably wait for the next boat…as the tide goes out.


What’s missing is the connection between our elected leaders, taking an oath to serve the people, and us, the constituents. The simple fundamental fact is that this disconnect is far more likely to destroy our great Republic than an insolvency presenting itself as “illiquidity.”


We must collectively say that the Emperor Has No Clothes. Absent that, we fail.


That is… unless reformers rise up in order to challenge incumbents who knowingly ignore the will of their constituents – in the next election cycle.


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