Shuck and Jive

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Tyranny of the Urgent

That phrase came to mind today in regards to this bailout business. I heard on the news from those who want Congress to push this through quickly:
  1. It is not the time to ask why we got in this situation. It is time to act. And...
  2. We have to ACT NOW or our economic world will crash.
No financial expert am I. I am not sure if I have an opinion about all of this. But I do know that decisions we regret later are made in the drama of urgency. There are so many unknowns. Financial experts to whom I have been listening have widely differing opinions.

Why isn't it the time to ask why? When do we get to ask why? It would appear that the answer to why we got into this pickle might inform us as to what to do about it.

When the Iraq Invasion started it too was a matter of urgency. We couldn't wait we were told. We had to go in right away. We are regretting that decision.

There is something really fishy about all of this. I don't trust Bush or McCain or Obama or the treasury guy and most certainly not the financial institutions.

Few things are as urgent as we make them to be. At times a temporary panic stopping decision is all that is needed before we figure things out in more depth.

It would appear to me that Congress could say something like: "We are going to act. But we are going to act after we have been informed. We are going to act after we argue as to what we think is best for our citizens."

I say they should wait until after the election and take the time between now and then to fight it out. But, all that said, the House will likely cave and pass whatever is put before them on Thursday or Friday. The only hope is that they get lucky and we don't regret this in the future.


  1. Hey John - have you read The Shock Doctrine yet? Therein lies a big clue!

  2. I am at a loss for words: I agree with you totally...:)

  3. That is the question, isn't it? Is this an emergency or is it an urgency?

    Is there really a wolf out there, finally, and our leaders have used up all their credibility?

    Or is this another farce, another case of weapons of mass destruction that turn out to be nowhere in sight?

    One thing is true. Interest rates are through the roof, and the whole world is begging the US government to do something before it is "too late". They didn't ask us to invade Iraq, or to abandon New Orleans, or to pass the Patriot Act, or to out CIA agents or fire federal prosecutors or edit scientific reports that vary with conservative ideology.

    But they are asking us for this.

  4. The key is to do the bailout without giving the Bush Administration any more unsupervised power. Will our Reps hand him the unitary leadership his handlers have wanted all along?

  5. The bill passed the Senate last night and will probably go through the house Friday. Jodie is right when she says we are heading for hard times, but passing this bill will only prolong those hard times. Many senators and congressleaders are saying that the underlying legislation did not do enough to address the real problems of jobs, health care, energy independence, and home foreclosures.

    Like John says we need to understand the root causes of our financial crisis and seek to fix those. A good question to ask is, "Where does our money come from"? Here is a very very simple explanation that answers that question.

  6. Jodie, I don't mean to bother you or scare you, but I want you to realize that if this bill passes or doesn't pass, the stock market will crash. "The American economy will collapse...Even if the government bailout bill passes, and they create $700 billion for the fatcat bankers and politically connected elites, how will that help the vaunted American consumer, that parasite that drives the global economy by eating the world out of house and home?" Continue reading here.

  7. Rachel,

    I am more of a technical person.

    Adjectives like "fatcat" and "vaunted American" as a "parasite" the "eats the world" are way too emotionally biased for me to consider as data.

    The data there is that some people are angry and feel disenfranchised. They are disenfranchised. Can they focus their anger in a constructive way? I don't know. But other than that, their words carry no other message or useful information.

    Will this rescue plan be enough? Will Wall Street take this warning to heart and do something substantial to stabilize the world economy? Will governments have to step in? How far in? Tanks in front of congress? Will cars sit rusting in people's driveways because they have no money to buy gas and no place to go anyway? Their TV sets blank because they can't pay their cable bills?

    Or will it all blow over. Forgotten along with "Sarah who?"

    Stay tuned.

  8. My point is that I don't think it will all blow over with the bailout. I think the crash will be worse if we follow on the path that the Reagan thru Bush administrations have taken us on and that McCain and Obama want to continue us on.

    But I will stay tuned.

  9. Okay John you might have to ask me to shut the hell up and leave, but I just feel like Jodie is falling for the lies of the Bush administration and mainstream media. Jodie says, "Will this rescue plan be enough? "

    It's not a rescue plan Jodie, many people including Dennis Kucinich and other congressleaders believe that what the bailout "rescue-plan" really does is to create a financial dictatorship whose locus of power is outside the United States and is unaccountable to the people or any branch of government-i.e. more control is given to the Secretary of Treasury and Federal Reserve Board. Many people believe that there will be no possibility of accountability with this bill, and that the bailout will kill our freedom.

    “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them, will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”
    - Thomas Jefferson

    In my humble, honest opinion you come across as being fearful of the big powers. It's time for people everywhere to stand up to the big powers that be. It doesn't look like it is going to happen this time arouns, but it is only a matter of time before more people lose their fear and demand change.

  10. Rachel,

    That's better. Fewer adjectives. Keep working that.

    I don't know that I am falling for George's Bushit, but I do understand the importance of fast cheap credit in the way most businesses work. If credit was no longer available, it would at least be a game changer.

    You could probably reset the rules of the game and have an economy that works on much less credit.


    My son gave me an argument that I could not answer. Bush has been wrong every step of the way. Why should he be right this time round?

    Makes your point rather nicely I would say.

    But I think your willingness, as well as his, and that of many young people today, to embrace the chaos that is coming, is naive.

    But I admit my reluctance to embrace it is selfish. I do not want to go into retirement with a wiped out 401K and no equity. I've worked too hard and too long to have a financial collapse take it all away at the last minute.

    I think I would just go out in my back yard, sit down in the dirt, and eat worms.

  11. Tater--an excellent, scary, important book. A must read. Thanks.



    Rachel and Jodie--thanks for the discussion. Good points, both.

    I have no desire for a crash. Government should step in to keep those things from happening to the best of its ability.

    But...that should make us ask why we got in this position and it should make us reflect on the larger issues of value and what is important.