Unless you have been living in a cave for the past week, you have heard about the $700 billion bailout of the financial section. Talk about someone getting screwed.
The ultra simple version is that deregulation allowed financial institutions (these are not your community banks; think Ditech) to give mortgages to people who did not have the means to repay the money, especially when the interest rates started to balloon after those initial years of "low, low financing." These loans were then purchased by the nation's largest financial institutions.
The inevitable happened right before the election. The repayments stopped coming in and the largest financial institutions were left holding the bag. The problem is that these institutions have grown so large that they control whether or not Americans (at least the ones who do have the means to repay the loans) can get lines of credit. That means the American economy will grind to a halt if these outfits fail. 1929?
Now W. and Congress are looking for a $700 billion bailout. Oh, and we have to do it soon so that the members of Congress can back back to their districts and do some last minute (okay, last 40 some days) campaigning.
Where did that $700 billion figure come from? Apparently from someone's backside.
"It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."Why is this such a problem? Well, W. managed to piss away the Clinton-era budget surplus and run up a deficit of something around $11 trillion. Now, in his last few months in office, Our Fearless Leader has Decided to just add another three-quarters of a trillion dollars to that total. What does he care? It's our children who will have to repay this money. By the way, this debt is held by other countries like our main economic competitor, China. We might as well learn Mandarin, because that may well be the language our CEOs will be speaking.
Back to the football intro. My favorite football column is Tuesday Morning Quarterback by Gregg Easterbrook. He is an incredibly intelligent guy who also writes for ESPN during the season. Click here (and scroll down to the subhead titled "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!) and read his full argument for why youth should be rising up over this.
So what was John McCain's reaction? He suspended his campaign to (eventually) head back to DC just in time for the bailout deal to fall through. We are all wondering whether this "suspension" means he will show up for tomorrow's debate. Of course, this was all a smokescreen. If Obama follows his lead, he looks like he is following McCain's lead and looks weak. If Obama continues campaigning, McCain can accuse him of putting politics before the crashing economy. Never mind that McCain has been Mr. Deregulation. And a key figure in the Keating Five.
John Stewart's reaction:
Wow. We're the midst of a crisis. I better stop talking to people about what I am going to do.
To his credit, Obama is having none of that nonsense and has pointed out that a president might actually need to juggle several issues at once. He plans to go on with the debate.
And to make the progressives feel better, here is the most current electoral college map.
That's some really good news for the good guys. And please check this site out. These guys really know what they are talking about. Forget about the national polls. Nate and Sean look at the data state-by-state because this is a state-by-state election. The aggregate the various polls, throw out the outliers and show us all how the polling is going in each state.
It's looking like this race might come down to Virginia. However, if swing voters see the McCain campaign suspension as the final jumping the shark moment, we might easily add Nevada, Ohio, Florida, Indiana Missouri North Carolina, and Montana.
That is if no one has foreclosed on the polling stations in the heavily Democratic districts.
Update: The debate will go on with both McCain and Obama and McCain has already declared victory in this evening's debate. Sad but true.