Who’s to blame?

If I were in a sinking rowboat out in the middle of an ocean and the only way to save the boat was to throw an ideologue overboard, I would not hesitate to do so.

Anyone who is now telling their constituents they voted against "socialism" yesterday is who I am blaming for the future negative impact their "do-nothing" inaction will have on the economy.

Yesterday’s vote was not a chance to vote against socialism, it was a chance to vote against drowning.

Later – Bonus link: If you’d like the annotated version of this post, I’ve just discovered it: This profoundly insightful essay by David Brooks. Every word of it is brilliant. Quote:

"The Congressional plan was nobody’s darling, but it was an effort to assert some authority. It was an effort to alter the psychology of the markets. People don’t trust the banks; the bankers don’t trust each other. It was an effort to address the crisis of authority in Washington. At least it might have stabilized the situation so fundamental reforms of the world’s financial architecture could be undertaken later. But the 228 House members who voted no have exacerbated the global psychological free fall, and now we have a crisis of political authority on top of the crisis of financial authority.

Even later – Another bonus link: Another must read: Steven Pearlstein in the Washington Post.

  • Blair

    So many people don’t understand the plan or the necessity for immediate action – which I guess is OK for the general public. But by being labeled a “bail out” it gets accused of all kinds of things incorrectly. Sadly, many legislatures don’t understand the role of credit and velocity of money in a functioning economy and instead stick to their comfort zone of talking points and ideology.

  • Rex: I tend to agree with you, but the defection by the left of the Democratic House troubles me. My own congressman – usually level headed (at by House standards) – he voted no. I heard a congressman from the Bronx on NPR today talking about how he voted no in order to protect the poor people in his district (I guess the collapse of the economy just isn’t as scary when you have nothing to lose). Is this a case of the ideology on both ends of the spectrum being blind? Are the Reps of the poor not seeing (or not caring about) the whole picture here? Are they abdicating their responsibility to educate their constituency on the implications of not passing a bill and going for easy, emotionally charged votes? Was this vote a tactic of class warfare with the middle class serving as collateral damage? As you can tell I have no idea what’s going on here – we are apparently through the looking glass.

  • I know that my post implied that the biggest measure of my contempt is directed at House Republicans. And it is. But I agree with you Michael, that defections by those on the left bare the blame for their constituents who will be the most likely first ones to drown in a sinking economy. As for the notion that having little to lose makes one less afraid of economic collapse, like you, I recognize that as a sad and tragic notion. I hate to evoke the worn out metaphor of “rising tides,” but in this case, a sinking boat drowns all occupants.

    I do, however, agree with your speculation that the vote may have been a “tactical” one — so that opponents on the right and left have the cover necessary to say they voted against the Wall Street Bailout. (Before they voted for it.)