It’s 6:47 PM Central Time as we write, and all three of us and Mr. Wired are totally confused. Is there an agreement on bailing out Wall Street, or not? Is the debate between Obama and McCain on or off for tomorrow night? Was McCain trying to act presidential by suspending his campaign, or just trying to get out of a debate he hadn’t been looking forward to? And if the latter, why wasn’t he looking forward to it, when he actually does pretty well in a debate format?
Of course, what the media have chosen to focus on today is what The Taxpayer thinks of the proposed bailout. So okay, here’s what we think:
- Some kind of bailout is probably essential. We are currently reading a really interesting book about the run-up to the Great Depression, and it makes us nervous.
- But really, what is most necessary at the moment isn’t actual governmental cash on the barrelhead, but a commitment on the part of the US government to stand behind the companies holding bad mortgage assets.
- So why can’t Bush make the commitment right now, and in the process also commit to spending the next 6 months or so working out the best possible format for the bailout?
- Are we mad? You bet. As usual, the Big Guys throw the party and we get stuck with the cleanup and the hangover. But to a certain extent, that’s unavoidable. None of these Big Guys will spend tomorrow night at the Salvation Army, because they’re too important for that. We could live with that.
- What we can’t live with is Bush’s mad panic to do something, anything, now. That’s how we got hustled into Iraq. This time, let’s get everybody working on this issue. It would be really tempting to get Wikipedia on board. They apparently already have a piece on “bailouts.” Why not let them gather information on how to do a bailout?
What we really need in government right now isn’t a Minuteman. It’s a Wait-a-Minute-Man, somebody to say that the one thing worse than not acting fast enough is acting too fast.
As for the debate, it would be interesting for Obama to have the podium to himself tomorrow night. But could he really use all that television time effectively, without boring the American public to death? Would it be better for him to invite a McCain surrogate to argue the other side? And if so, who? Chris Buckley would be fun. His father, may he rest in peace, would have been a total blast. We welcome other suggestions.
The Wired Sisters