Monday, September 29, 2008

Wherein I Find I Am Not, In Fact, a True Believer

Reading up on the economic crisis and the subsequent failed rescue plan, I've been pretty stunned to see the grave dancing by people I normally agree with. One of my coworkers, for example, a hardcore Democrat, told me that he was "supportive" of the balky house Republicans who voted against the bailout because he was pissed about having any of his money going to Wall Street. And apparently other Democrats are yearning for the "salutary" effects of a depression and hoping to leverage the moment to institute some New Deal action. On the other side of the aisle, some symmetry of the zealots:

According to one GOP lawmaker, some House Republicans are saying privately that they’d rather “let the markets crash” than sign on to a massive bailout.

“For the sake of the altar of the free market system, do you accept a Great Depression?” the member asked.

Somehow, I think it's easier to be a purist when you're insulated enough, for a while at least, from the consequences. But you know it's never the big guys who suffer, right? They may lose some yachts and have to scale back on the vacation homes, but it's the rest of us that will be in a world of hurt when the unemployment rates increase and credit freezes up. Which is not to say that I don't share boiling rage at the captains of industry and their political tools (*cough* Phil Gramm *cough*) for what they've wrought.

But I'm a pragmatist who listens to people who know what they're talking about and who are actual economists and everything. The way I see it, it's a big sucky mess that lax regulation and a lot of greedy people got us into. So you do what you can to keep the economy going, elect the dude who will be more likely to fix the structural problems, then fix the structural problems. But that's just me.

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