Sullivan on the bailout

I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again: When Sullivan is off, whoa-boy, but when he’s on, he’s on.

My instinctive response upon hearing that the bailout failed was relief. I know the dangers of a meltdown. But I also know the dangers of perpetuating the toxic combination of denial and debt that has characterized the last eight years.

[My emphasis. – Nathancontramundi.]

In response to Ezra Klein’s riposte, Sullivan pithily remarks, “He says we don’t know for sure how much the bailout would cost. But isn’t that the problem?”

And more:

It’s funny, isn’t it, that when it comes to poor black women, the ethos is always welfare to work. But when it comes to millionaire white men, it’s always work to welfare. Maybe a little welfare reform on Wall Street is overdue.


Republicans in the House have a spine!

At least for now.

For the first time in recent memory, I am less ashamed of my remaining a registered Republican. Suggests anything the complete impotence of a two-term president as clearly as his party’s two-to-one rejection of his “necessary” mega-policy? I think not.

Maybe I’m a terrible person for it, but I’m pretty excited to see that the Dow fell more than four hundred points after the House Republcans — and ninety-four courageous Democrats — stood up against corporate socialism.

House to vote on bailout today; please, God, let the Republicans show that they have a spine!

WASHINGTON — The House braced for a difficult vote set for Monday on a $700 billion rescue of the financial industry after a weekend of tense negotiations produced a plan that Congressional leaders portrayed as greatly strengthened by new taxpayer safeguards.

The 110-page bill, intended to ease a growing credit crisis, came after a frenzied week of political twists and turns that culminated in an agreement between the Bush administration and Congress early Sunday morning.

The measure still faced stiff resistance from Republican and Democratic lawmakers who portrayed it as a rush to economic judgment and an undeserved aid package for high-flying financiers who chased big profits through reckless investments.

The New York Times offers, albeit unintentionally, one more reason why Congress should not permit the tax-payers to provide support to the powers of economic centralization:

“Citigroup Buys Banking Operations of Wachovia”

Citigroup will acquire the banking operations of the Wachovia Corporation, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said Monday morning, the latest bank to fall victim to the distressed mortgage market.

[. . .]

The sale would further concentrate Americans’ bank deposits in the hands of just three banks: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup. Together, those three would be so large that they would dominate the industry, with unrivaled power to set prices for their loans and services. Given their size and reach, the institutions would probably come under greater scrutiny from federal regulators. Some small and midsize banks, already under pressure, might have little choice but to seek suitors.

[All emphasis mine. – Nathancontramundi]

Three banks absolutely dominate the banking industry and the sprawling Federal government finds (Constitutional t)reason to exercise even more power. Ladies and gentlemen, sharpen your pitchforks: The troops will be positioning themselves on native soil and our fearless leaders commit acts that may incite uprising, which the troop shall, doubtless, be prepared to defeat. God. Bless. America.

Update: President Bush admonishes Congress to support the bailout, as “difficult” as the vote may be.

Bush acknowledged that the vote will be “difficult” in the face of opposition from taxpayers and voters but necessary to protect the economy.

“A vote for this bill is a vote to prevent economic damage to you and your community” by stabilizing financial markets and renewing the flow of credit, Bush said, attempting to undercut arguments that the proposed legislation bolsters Wall Street at taxpayers’ expense. “This is a bold bill that will keep the crisis in our financial system from spreading through our economy.”

My own two cents: Part of the fundamental problem is that we incline, all too easily, to think in macroeconomic terms, of “the economy”, rather than of our myriad local and regional economies. Daniel noted, a few days ago, that “[s]mall banks are functioning and even thriving as deposits have started flooding into them, and credit from these banks does not seem as if it will be drying up.” I suspect that the owners of First Farmers Bank and Trust and the First National Bank of Monterey, back in North Judson, even if the woes of “the economy” have hit home (actually, at least as of May, they had, for the better), probably have much less to fear than the shareholders of Wachovia had. These small banks, which serve the people who know the owners and employees of the bank, which serve as an important life-blood for countless small businesses across the country, help to drive our economies; the “too big to fail” banks drive — or wreck, as it were –“the economy”. Our purportedly conservative president wishes to “secure the economy” (to employ the present defensive jargon), rather than to allow our economies to function naturally, without fear (Yes, I apologize, I’ve anthropomorphized things as abstract as the economies.) of disaster caused by intervention. This, Mr Bush, is decidedly un-conservative, as has been most of your presidency.

(Hat tip, on the internal occupation: John Schwenkler)

Chase Bank commercial reveals what’s wrong with America

As Queen’s “I Want it All” (I want it now, too!. . . ) reminds us that it is our right duty, as Americans, to enjoy immediate gratification, particularly with regard to bigger, fancier, pricier big-boy toys, the voice-over informs us that, if we acquire a Chase credit card, we can now text Chase to determine our balance, that we might see if we can afford that even-bigger television (because the one at home is already two years old!). Of course, chances are, as Americans, we’ll buy it even if we cannot afford it, thereby furthering our reliance on credit.

Chase Bank, of course, is part of JPMorgan Chase, now, courtesy of Uncle Sam, the largest bank in the nation.

“Socialism is the only route to the salvation of the world.”

Thus spake Chavez.

BEIJING (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez broke into an unlikely snippet of song for bitter ideological foe George W. Bush on Thursday, trilling “you are so like me” about the man he has called a donkey and the devil.

The staunch leftist said the world financial crisis had forced his U.S. counterpart to recognise flaws in the economic system that he had been pointing out for years.

Reason enough — as if I hadn’t any already — to oppose the bailout.

What troubles me most (Many things about it bother me.) about this is Chavez’s use of the word “salvation”. This is precisely the problem with any form of ideology, whether socialism, pseduo-conservatism, various forms of liberalism, and everything in between, that is, what’s wrong with everything but conservatism (in the traditional sense of Burke, Kirk, et alios): The risible notion of being able to save the world, to save man qua mortal being, of being able to establish any sort of utopian world.

(Hat tip: the GW Patriot‘s Daily Links, 26 September)

Most important game of the season (to me)

The Notre Dame-Purdue rivalry pales compared to, say, Michigan, USC, Navy, or numerous other rivalries. Nonetheless, for me, this is the game. My father has his degree from a Purdue branch, my brother is, presently, a Purdue ex-pat, and many of my closest friends from high school earned their bachelor’s degrees at the cow-college known as Purdue, which is only about an hour to the southwest of my home town.

Gooooooooooo Irish
Go Irish!
Beeeeeeat Boilers!
Beat Boilers!

Speaking of Pakistan

“Pakistan’s New Leader Denies Firefight as Mullen Confirms It”

NEW YORK, Sept. 26 — Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday denied that American and Pakistani forces exchanged fire along the Afghanistan border this week, even as the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff acknowledged that the two sides engaged in a brief firefight.

Zardari told The Washington Post in an interview Friday that Pakistani border forces shot warning flares Thursday at two U.S. helicopters that he believes inadvertently crossed into Pakistani territory from Afghanistan. He said there was no gunfire exchanged between the two sides.

Senator Obama, in last night’s debate:

Nobody talked about attacking Pakistan. Here’s what I said.

And if John wants to disagree with this, he can let me know, that, if the United States has Al Qaida, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out.

Now, I think that’s the right strategy; I think that’s the right policy.

Now, admittedly, at least as he has worded it here, and, presumably, before, this is a slightly more nuanced (maybe) policy than what President Bush has employed, but, ultimately, they share the same view, to wit, that securing America involves the violation of the sovereignty of a nation-state, even a quasi-ally, such as Pakistan. Let us be thankful, at least, that this alleged firefight brought about no casualties. Senator Obama, supporting such policy as this, would, I suspect, not wish to fail to keep the promise that he made to the mother in Green Bay. Just as he wished to keep the promise not to support the USA PATRIOT Act? Just as he wishes to keep his word that he offers a saner foreign policy than McCain will, except for when he holds the same views vis-à-vis Russia and Iran?

It’s only one o’clock and, already, I feel as if I need beer.