Americans need to hang tough during turbulent times

Bush cannot be gone soon enough. This country does not need anymore of his self-centered governance.

This country is facing a financial crisis. Sadly, it is not the first time America has faced a similar problem. Not only has the United States weathered the Depression, we also have gotten through the savings and loan debacle of the 1980s (a problem that McCain was intimately involved in and not in a good way, but that’s another column). Yet, Bush could only sound alarmist.

Instead of telling the country not to panic but let the government go to work and fix the problem, Bush essentially just piled it on. Why? For what purpose? Surely, it would have been much better to calm fears and ask the public to give the situation some time to be rectified. But, if a panicked constituency called their representatives demanding an immediate resolution to the problem, who would benefit?

Bush would. His proposed bill was just another attempt to consolidate power for his administration. And, the best way to get it through was the same way he and his administration got the Patriot Act passed: ram it through and give no one any time to review the language, ask questions or debate points; no time for deliberation.

What the country got the first time was the extremely flawed Patriot Act. Since then, people on both sides of the aisle have been trying to rein in the excesses of power inappropriately taken by Bush and company. So, rightly, Congress was not going to make the same mistake twice. Yes, the bailout is needed. The issue is how to do it and protect the American taxpayer the best.

Republicans like local Congressman Dave Reichert think the bailout is not the right way to go. Quoted on television, he stated it should be dealt with by the private sector. Given that nothing is stopping the private investors from doing so, why aren’t they? Could it be because they have decided to protect their own wealth by taking out their money from the failing institutions instead? Even though it is their machinations that got us into this mess in the first place, that doesn’t seem to raise a red flag with Reichert and company. Now, that is foolish.

Then, there are the Democrats like local Congressman Jay Inslee, who think a bailout is needed but that the current proposal does not provide enough protection for the average taxpayer. Inslee split away from the Washington delegation to vote with the three Washington Republicans. Inslee wants to see more consideration for those folks whose major asset is their home. Unlike the wheelers and dealers on Wall Street, they have no millions to fall back on.

Of course, not surprisingly, McCain and the Republicans are blaming Obama and the Democrats for the bill not passing. Somehow, the fact that two-thirds of them did not support the bill had nothing to do with the failure. But, it also shows how little direct political influence Bush can wield. His only hope of getting his way is to scare us and pray we will do his heavy lifting for him.

It is really sad that, according to a KING-5/USA poll, about 67 percent of people in Washington state believe the government cannot fix the mess. Because if the government cannot do it, who can? It was Wall Street that got us into this mess and it will be Capitol Hill that will get us out.

That is what Bush should have said but did not. My 92-year-old mother did a better job of providing a comforting message in my conversation with her about the implications of the financial meltdown for us both. She said she and the country had survived the Depression and she was confident America would get through this.

The self-fulfilling prophecy came out of studies of human behavior during the Depression. Telling people things were failing only made them act in ways to precipitate the failure. The reverse also holds true. Bush clearly never bothered to learn that concept when getting his business degree.

Yes, things are bad. But, this is when people need to step up and hang tough. The power to get through this is in all of our hands. We must support the bailout and then be as tough in demanding regulation and punishment of Wall Street to stop this chicanery in the future. As always, it is Main Street that will get us through and it is Main Street that makes the United States great.

Val Torrens covers local issues for the CK Reporter and North Kitsap Herald.

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