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Keeping his eye on the news and offering commentaries and insights on what is happening in Oakland County, around the world, on the tube and in the news.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Who to believe with economic crisis

Three times now, I have listened to President George W. Bush describe
in fairly dire terms the need for the bailout. I've been paying
attention for months as I've watched stocks for several financial
companies fall -- and fall quickly -- far below highs reached in
early 2007.
Stock prices dipping from the $90s to the teens tell one that there
is a serious correction going on in our markets.
Then the bailouts started with banks and the powerful mortgage
brokers, Frannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Then Lehman crashed; Merrill
might have been saved from disaster with a takeover bid by Bank of
America; and the government bailed out AIG.
Finally comes the proposed bailout, a $700 billion investment by the
American government and taxpayers in financial institutions who have
failed when left with minimal regulations.
All the talking heads, political leaders and financial experts
promise substantial problems if this bailout is not approved: no
credit for families trying to buy cars, get student loans or buy new
houses as well as no credit for businesses trying to expand or even
cover payrolls.
Can we believe this?
I don't know, but credibility is earned, and our leaders have no
credibility left.
Such dire warnings were spewed about Iraq, weapons of mass
destruction and an imminent mushroom cloud. Turns out none of that
was true, though a ruthless leader was cast aside. Of course, the
country is still filled with an occupying army and violence, though
down, still exists. We're still paying for this mess with lives and
money years later -- with no end in sight.
So now we're promised a disaster if we don't rush into an quick fix.
I'm not buying it.
If the situation is as bad as promised, then I don't think $700
billion will be enough to fix an economy that is based on borrowing
what cannot be paid back. Isn't that what got us into this mess --
home mortgages that could not be paid back mixed with sinking home
values (or a correction for over-inflated home prices)?
And all these threats of no credit to keep the gears of the economic
engine turning? If I don't have the money to survive now, how is my
situation going to improve -- to stabilize -- by getting deeper into
If the problem is loans not being paid back, then shouldn't American
families and businesses work to reduce their debt?
Also, if the situation is this dire, then why weren't these threats
to our economic stability discussed until we reached this point of
urgent repairs. These failures in our system did not just become
apparent. For everyone to pretend this just came about reeks of more
While the official line is that the bailout is needed from all the
concerned parties, I don't think the public is buying it. Our online
poll here at shows two-thirds of readers
rejecting the bailout.
The numbers have been consistent since the bailout was proposed, with
67 percent saying no. Only six percent say that it should be done and
done quickly, as 27 percent say it should be done but only after
careful review and having a close eye kept on the money.
Here's an idea.
I'd bet that polls would shift substantially, though not completely
around, if Bush came out and said, I know I was wrong about Iraq and
the warnings sounded then came from faulty intelligence; but this
time I'm serious.
Admitting a lie actually plays pretty well to the public, and this
time, he might be believed.


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