So the talking heads were out in force this morning. All over the media, I'm sure, but I heard more than my fair share on NPR as I was getting ready for work. And most of them were all hyping some variation on the same theme: "We've got to fix this thing right this instant or all hell will break loose."
To which I say, get real.
If we don't take our time and get this right, we won't get a second chance to fix it. There's no way on earth we'd be able to find anybody stupid enough to lend us another trillion dollars to throw after the first one we pissed away.
Yes, I saw the stock market took another tumble today. And that the price of U.S. crude had its biggest-ever single-day jump as well. Bound to happen.
But the simple and sad fact of the matter is, this mess took a generation to get into. It isn't going to be anything we can reasonably expect to fix in a week. And certainly not this week, when Congress will be busy trying to write up either an omnibus funding bill or a batch of continuing resolutions to keep the government running until after the elections. (Here's a thought: how about instead of coming home to kiss babies for the next month and a half, y'all stay in Washington and do what we sent you there to do, but do it properly this time?)
If we've learned anything from the Bush administration, it should be that it's always in a hurry when it thinks it can pull a fast one. At all other times, "glacially slow" is too fast a speed for them, but when they see a chance to push another unpopular item from their agenda over on an unsuspecting public, watch out--they'll make the Blitzkrieg look like the proverbial molasses in January.
So I'm absolutely not buying this "the sky is falling" hype. At this point, we don't even know what the true magnitude of the problem is. Shouldn't we be figuring that out before we try and find a solution for it? Today it's $700 billion; tomorrow it could be twice that. Or half. And do we really think the idea of handing over Phenomenal Cosmic Power (untroubled by pesky things like oversight, rules, courts, public scrutiny, transparency, etc.) to a guy who's going to be out of a job in five months' time is a good one? I'm leery about it--and I'm betting that the next treasury secretary is going to be a Democrat. I still don't think s/he should have that kind of power.
Before we bail out Wall Street, perhaps we ought to pay a little more attention to Main Street, just like Obama said over the weekend. In the meantime, let's let the dust settle a bit, take our time, and do this right. Or else we're really going to have a problem.