Thursday, October 2, 2008

It looks like the Senate has passed a 'rescue' plan that may actually get through the House.  I still think the whole thing is an exercise in futility.  We have been in a recession no matter what the cooked and massaged figures the Government puts out say.  The economy is out of balance in more than just the credit markets and the plan does nothing to deal with the deep systemic problems we face.  I did get a look at what a good plan might look like at John Mauldin's 'Out of the Box' e-newsletter.  He summarized at a study that examined bank failures world wide and came to some conclusions as to what did and did not work.  What doesn't work is 'dithering' and forbearance (as in suspending mark-to-market and other regulations), and purchasing bad assets to be managed by a management agency. What does work is targeted relief to debtors and recapitalizing the stronger bank while letting the weak ones disappear.  It looks to me like the plan put forward is long on what won't work and very short on what will.  And the worst of it is that even enacting those strategies that have a good record of success did not avoid economic pain.  Mauldin did link to another site that also covered the details of the study.  I haven't read it but will include it here so anyone who wants to can see more details.

C. Robb at Sustainable Living asks a very good question that has been lost in this whole mess: should we spend all that money to maintain a system that is unsustainable or should we spend it to somehow create a new more sustainable system.  To date, all our elected representatives and their functionaries have focused their efforts on getting the system humming along as it did before.  I think most would be happy to wind the clock back to spring of last year and ignore the fact that a large part of the population were already in dire straights while someone else was making the profits, the big salaries and getting the big tax cuts.  

It is now Friday morning.  I started writing this on Thursday morning for anyone who wonders. 

I did watch most of the debates last night, though by the end I wished fervently that they would wrap the blasted thing up.  I got in about twenty minutes late because we started a Charlie Chan movie and wanted to finish it.  Old Charlie was much more entertaining.  The pundits and political handlers set the bar so low that failure was nearly impossible for either candidate.  Neither side made any serious gaffs and neither delivered a knockout blow.  I don't really know anything more about Palin or John McCain than I did before the debate.  She totally failed to enlighten me with any specific information.  Nor did she deliver any specific information which would induce me to support the ticket next month.  I was glad to see Biden come out swinging on the issue of John McCain's 'maverick' status (NOT!!!.)  Palin's attempt to do a Ronald Reagan failed.  A condescending 'There you go again, Joe.' to rebut Biden's effective linkage of McCain to failed Bush Policies was weak in the extreme.  And how can we trust her and McCain to get us out of a mess that his support of Bush has helped create when she refuses to look at the past actions that exacerbated the problem?  The answers Biden and Palin gave to one question, I think, sums up the differences between the two through out the debate.  The candidates were asked to describe a specific instance when experience changed deeply held beliefs or positions.  Palin gave a superficial answer which vaguely mentioned a couple of situations in which she could not win a political battle and simply chose to not to fight what had become inevitable.  She did not change her view or her position.  Biden recounted how fights over judicial appointments changed his view that judicial philosophies of the proposed appointees should not be a consideration in the appointment to a view that those judicial philosophies were absolutely key to understanding how the potential judges and justices would rule on key issues.  Palin revealed nothing except perhaps a smug, self-satisfied, certainty which cannot be shaken by any real world experience and won't be confused by facts.  Biden reveals a character ruled by values that can change when experience shows that the values should be changed.  I like the latter far more than the former.

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