Friday, September 26, 2008

Passing the Buck

I think that McCain's dropping the campaign to go to Washington for the bailout negotiations was an honest and sincere gesture, putting the country's concerns above his own. If it helped or hurt him wasn't his main concern. Obama says otherwise, but that's to his advantage to be cynical and disparaging of his 'opponent'.

I think McCain was thinking that whoever is going to be the next President and will have to inherit the mess and its fallout really should at least be there to know first hand what exactly the Congress and White House are doing about it. Also, as a Senator *it's his job* to be there. Yeah, it's Obama's job too, but he's more interested in playing politics than actually doing something.

Obama blowing it off and saying "they can call me if they need me" sounded extremely selfish and arrogant as well as unconcerned about what his future job might involve. It is that casual disinterest in "regulating" the process that makes him look pretty hypocritical for blaming Bush and Co. for not keeping a good enough eye on things years ago. He's trying to pass the buck.

Passing the buck like that is the very reason why this thing has grown so out of proportion. All those people were passing the responsibility on to others while packing even more onto it as it goes, until now, and they're trying to pass it on to the responsible taxpayers.

And it really irks me that Bill O'Reilly has been harping on Bush and Co. about not warning everyone vigorously enough about this financial mess coming. Well, I think he's passing the buck too because he should be feeling some responsibility for not paying enough attention to the news over the years that suggested that this problem was on its way. And really, if he will be completely honest he will admit that if Bush came out and forcefully warned everyone about this back then, the Democrats would have crucified him and there probably would have been widespread financial panic and chaos. Then they would have totally blamed it on Bush, saying his alarmism caused it to crash and so on. Bill really needs to stop it with the Botox because it's not only seeping into his nuts, it's seeping into his brain too.

And another thing, what exactly is Bill's job as a highly paid media figure? Doesn't he realize that part of HIS responsibility, as such a prominent media presence (as he's always reminding everyone about his ratings), is to keep up with the news and spot the big, important stories developing? Stop passing the buck to the government. What was he paying attention to in 2003-2007? Why wasn't he reading the NYTimes and their stories about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and trying to look deeper into the issue? Isn't that the job of a journalist and/or commentator (especially one with lots of resources and assistants to do the grunt work)?

Apparently, he wants all the glory but none of the responsibility. Just like all those crooked hogs who kept feeding at the teats, even as they were drying up. Bill said nobody told him that his Merrill Lynch stock was worthless. Well, poor little baby. First of all, I don't think anyone should invest a lot of money in something that they don't really know that much about. But anyway, can't he see that the reason why his broker and the employees of Merrill Lynch and everyone else, including the government, didn't know is because the Congressional committees that were supposed to "regulate" this stuff were all caught up in the corruption themselves. They did everything they could to keep everyone ignorant about what they were doing. It wasn't just the CEOs but the Congress members too who were hiding things. They were almost caught when the "accounting scandals" were discovered, but they were sneaky enough to get past that. And that's why, when the President tried to address this issue, one of the main guys who should have been concerned - Barney Frank - sat there and denied that there was a problem at all and said that suggesting that there was one would actually cause problems. Fannie and Freddie should have been properly dealt with back then, but in trying to avoid a big financial crisis at that time they just passed it on to now. How hard is it to see how that worked out?

Why wasn't there good enough regulation already? Well, in 1999 President Clinton signed into law the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which loosened some rules about banking and also contained new laws regarding privacy of personal information. By passing that bill no one was advocating corruption or abuse within the financial industry in cahoots with the Congressional committees on banking and finance. The bill was intended to increase competition among banks so that people would have more choice, etc. There were mostly Democrats at the helms of both the Congressional committees as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It's completely disingenuous to blame Bush for inheriting this whole setup. And let's try to remember that just after he was inaugurated our country was attacked in the most serious way by terrorists, so all the crooks were able go to work 'under the radar' since the responsible people in government were pretty distracted by dealing with national security.

So I hope that explains somewhat where that toxic buck came from and who started passing it in the first place. This isn't some fairy tale version of history. It's the real thing.

No, McCain hasn't been perfect, but I think he's been very honest and selfless in his work. And those who suggest otherwise should really stop because they can't offer any real evidence to the contrary or any justification of their own behavior.

PS To Bill O'Reilly, please stop blaming Bush for not warning the "people" about Fannie and Freddie. He even mentioned the need for reform in his 2008 State of the Union address:

On housing, we must trust Americans with the responsibility of homeownership and empower them to weather turbulent times in the housing market. My Administration brought together the HOPE NOW alliance, which is helping many struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure. The Congress can help even more. Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, modernize the Federal Housing Administration, and allow State housing agencies to issue tax-free bonds to help homeowners refinance their mortgages. These are difficult times for many American families, and by taking these steps, we can help more of them keep their homes.

Whose fault is it that they weren't watching his speech? Or if they were watching, why weren't they paying attention to these things? As citizens of this country it is our responsibility to be informed, and Bush was trying to inform us in the one most important speech of the year.

Another quote from that speech:

The strength -- the secret of our strength, the miracle of America, is that our greatness lies not in our government, but in the spirit and determination of our people. (Applause.) When the Federal Convention met in Philadelphia in 1787, our nation was bound by the Articles of Confederation, which began with the words, "We the undersigned delegates." When Governor Morris was asked to draft a preamble to our new Constitution, he offered an important revision and opened with words that changed the course of our nation and the history of the world: "We the people."

Okay, so like I said before, we the people are really the bosses, so let's start acting like it and finally vote out all the corruption and crooks instead of letting them hold us hostage and demanding from us some hundreds of billions of dollars ransom. That's just is not the American Way.

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