The other day one of our finest guests tried to tell me that the Republicans screaming and pushing for deregulation of everything under the sun is not the reason that we are witnessing the meltdown of America’s financial core, not to mention potentially even the conclusion of its economic supremacy in the world. Yes, Matilda, it is that bad.
Everybody knows that something needs to be done by the government. Everybody knows that unless some money flows soon, we are going to watch the markets freeze. Even tried and true devotees of Republican fiscal policies (as if there are any such things, we’ve watched as the Republicans have betrayed their small government/small spending mantras so severely that stunned Democrats are red-faced with jealousy) such as Paulson and Bernanke are begging Congress to do something.
Well, noises started coming out of some feisty Republicans in the past day that indicated a lack of cohesion in the Republican party’s view on this “bailout.” They gave the usual hypocritical reasons about big government and fiscal irresponsibility. Some spoke about how it’s unfair to the little people if you bail out the rich folks over in New York.
Republicans complaining about saving the rich folks over the rest of us.
Republicans complaining about the fruit of deregulation.
All we can do is laugh.
So anyway, let’s all wish our economy all the best.
â€œWe’re in a serious economic crisis,â€ Mr. Bush told reporters as the meeting began shortly before 4 p.m. in the Cabinet Room, adding, â€œMy hope is we can reach an agreement very shortly.â€
But once the doors closed, the smooth-talking House Republican leader, John A. Boehner of Ohio, surprised many in the room by declaring that his caucus could not support the plan to allow the government to buy distressed mortgage assets from ailing financial companies.
Mr. Boehner pressed an alternative that involved a smaller role for the government, and Mr. McCain, whose support of the deal is critical if fellow Republicans are to sign on, declined to take a stand.
The talks broke up in angry recriminations, according to accounts provided by a participant and others who were briefed on the session, and were followed by dueling news conferences and interviews rife with partisan finger-pointing.
In the Roosevelt Room after the session, the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., literally bent down on one knee as he pleaded with Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, not to â€œblow it upâ€ by withdrawing her party’s support for the package over what Ms. Pelosi derided as a Republican betrayal.
â€œI didn’t know you were Catholic,â€ Ms. Pelosi said, a wry reference to Mr. Paulson’s kneeling, according to someone who observed the exchange. She went on: â€œIt’s not me blowing this up, it’s the Republicans.â€
Mr. Paulson sighed. â€œI know. I know.â€
That’s the Republican Treasury Secretary and one of the most successful NY bankers of his generation talking.
Oh, and Washington Mutual, one of the largest banks in the US, was forced to sell itself to JP Morgan today in order to avoid closure of the bank.