I have not said a whole lot about the bailout because there is just so much to this and I haven’t had time to put it all together in a post. There was also a lot going on and the final solution was still coming together.
Now that the bill failed in the House yesterday, I have a few thoughts I want to share.
First, congressional Republicans really need to put politics aside for a minute and objectively look at getting something done. Nancy Pelosi’s abhorrent behavior notwithstanding, it is time for Congress to take some action. Once the bill is passed, the onus is on them to get their reason for supporting it out to their constituency. The media may be conspiring against Republicans this year (what else is new), but last I checked, every seat in the House is up for re-election. All of their local media outlets should afford at least some coverage to them. Besides, hasn’t anyone ever heard of campaign mailings? God forbid they actually have to, you know, work to get elected.
Second, Nancy Pelosi proved that she is no leader. The Speaker of the House has a duty to lead any bi-partisan effort by setting the atmosphere of cooperation. Instead, Pelosi gave a speech that basically proclaimed the bill to be a vote against Bush’s economic policies, which is Democratic code for Republican economic policies. She basically asked them to vote against themselves. That is no way to get a bi-partisan vote. There is a time for partisan grandstanding and there is a time to shut up and lead. Speaker Pelosi proved yesterday that she is not capable of making that distinction.
Third, this government intervention is not a referendum on free market economic policies. There was no free market at play when this situation was created. The government is heavily involved in our economy. The two key players in the mortgage fiasco, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are government-sponsored enterprises, created by government decree. The government encouraged the trend of loosening credit requirements in order to get low-income buyers into their own homes. Regardless of whether or not greed played a factor in the financial markets reaching crisis status, this situation would not have occurred without the government’s interference in the first place.
This is not a government solution to a market problem. This is a government solution to a government-created problem.
The House Republicans should put politics aside long enough to get a bill passed. Once it passes, then and only then, they should come out hard with a unified message that this was a government solution to a government-created problem and that free market economic policies were not at failure here. Then, they need to follow that up with a strong repudiation of the leadership, or lack thereof, of Speaker Pelosi.
Of course, it would have looked better if they had done this yesterday.