The Political Blogosphere Jumps the Shark & The Path Forward
posted by Dave Hoffman
As you probably know, the Great Bailout just went down in the House, failing for lack of support on both right and left. This, despite the (glaring) fact that companies need to float an enormous amount of paper tomorrow. And payroll day.
In any event, in the face of this shocking loss, Chris Bowers, at Open Left, comments:
Yes! (0.00 / 0)
It has been a long time since we won something like this. Great news. Hopefully, it will be pushed until after the election now.
Every day that passes when we don’t hand this much power to Paulson is a good thing. Any bill that Bush would sign would suck. Let’s do this after the election.
For now, yey!
by: Chris Bowers @ Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 12:58:12 PM CDT
This frame (Bush lied/people died/let the economy fail) has been all over the liberal blogs of late. I obviously think it is rank foolishness, by people who either don’t understand how the economy works, or who hope that an economic contraction will help them advance their policy agenda. It suggests to me that political progressives aren’t serious about governance, and aren’t to be trusted with even the barest hint of power.
It’s been a sobering education. I had thought that generally one ought not to be terribly concerned with federal politics, because most of the issues decided on the federal level are symbolic. That is, the differences between the parties are minor, and governance happens through the professional bureaucracy, which can be trusted to muck-things-up on a random, and thus not systemic, level. Now I understand that if the bloggers had their way, we’d see real change. In the direction of a socialist banana republic, or a crony capitalist autocracy. Shucks, until the last few weeks, I thought these folks were mostly kidding!
So here’s the story. The credit markets are, for now, frozen or freezing. The Fed is going to try to move heaven and earth to restore confidence, but its ability to do so is in serious doubt, as our representatives seem to be willing to let the real economy tank so long as they survive their next election. I imagine there will be some hard arm-twisting in the House tonight, as members get calls from their local businesses saying something like the following:
Hey, Representative Tiahrt, it’s Jeff Turner, President of Spirit Aero Systems. The largest employer in your district.
Tiarht: Er, hi!
Hypothetical Turner: So, I saw you just voted against the bailout.
HT: Do you realize I’ve got to make payroll tomorrow?
Tiarht: “More effort should be made to bring in the private sector to take the burden off the federal government.”
HT: What does that even mean? Insurance.
Tiarht: Er, yes.
Tiahrt: “I can’t support a system that nobody understands,” he said. “We think we know what they want to do, but it’s pretty much ‘trust me.’”
HT: Do you understand that not being able to borrow in the commercial paper markets, tomorrow, means that making payroll and expanding our business is going to be exceedingly difficult? [Note: I'm just using Spirit Aero as a convenient example, because it is a manufacturer with an large employee base, seeking to expand, in a no-voting-member's district. I haven't checked Spirit's finances. I'm sure they have a nice cushion.] Banks are hoarding cash because they don’t trust one another. This is a tremendous collective action problem, just the kind that government exists to solve.
Tiahrt: I believe in free market principles. If we have to go into a Depression so the republican caucus can remain untainted, so be it.
HT: Is the free market a suicide pact?
HT: We’ll see. Depression 2.0, if it comes, will likely lead to significant changes in the membership of the House.