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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

We're from the government -- trust us

Old habits die hard. How else can you explain Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's insistence that there is only one true way to fiscal salvation.

The sight of the two Bush administration figureheads lecturing Congress that writing a blank check to them for $700 billion to fix the mess they helped to create (especially Paulson) brings back memories of Colin Powell lecturing the United Nations about weapons of mass destruction.

Pretty show -- how much of it is true?

Let's start with Bernanke's description of what will happen of Congress doesn't do what he wants.
“This will be a major drag on the U.S. economy and greatly impede the ability of the economy to recover.”
Wow, compelling stuff. Bernanke also said the US would slide into a recession if Congress didn't act immediately. Funny, I thought rising prices, falling wages and lost jobs and declining consumer confidence said we're already in one.

Lawmakers reacted with appropriate skepticism that the blank check approach is the only way -- and a number of economists have been chiming in on topics with suggestions about things like loans instead of grants.

Actually making the Wall Street companies with a history of fiscal recklessness be responsible for paying back taxpayers for bailing them out? What a concept!

Plus, the insistence that only Wall Street and not Main Street needs help is yet another hallmark of the Bush administration. That's the equivalent of flying over New Orleans and only looking out the window.

No wonder we are starting to see some movement in the polls.

The lesson we need to draw -- doing something is not enough. Doing it right requires careful thought and consideration. Bush administration rush jobs have already cost us upwards of $600 billion on a war in a country where there were no WMDs and did not harbor Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

This time -- let's actually take the time that is needed and do it right. Congress and the American people understand this isn't the time for threats and rhetoric. Those tactics are what got us into this mess in the first place.

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