I have to go back to the parrot in Disney's Alladin - "why am I not surprised?" Washington is being held hostage. In the old days, the wheeling and dealing was done by trading pork barrel projects and committee chairmanships. This week we learn the the arm twisting is hostage to extreme views. And so we are subject to a charade which takes us to the brink of economic upheaval. But I'm not surprised.
If we stepped back to 1/1/2000 and recognized that the demographics meant a tsunami wave of gray and asked what we could do to wreck the baby boomers' retirements, we would have come up with a list of what actually was done. The first thing we would have thought of would be to drive interest rates as close to zero as possible. Thank you Bernanke and Greenspan. Check one.
We would have thought of destroying the housing market. Again, thank you Greenspan and Bernanke with a tip of the hat to rating agencies, lax regulators, Congress pandering to Fannie and Freddie, et.al. Check 2. We would have thought of taking a long-projected surplus and turning it into a massive deficit. Then we could threaten cuts in Medicare, Social Security, etc. Thank you Congress and Bush. Check 3. We would have spent the annual surplus on Social Security collected by an extremely regressive tax. Thank you Congress. Check 4.
Today, this ineptness is extended and actually possibly being outdone. The House is voting on a bill that is held hostage by the extreme right and is dead on arrival as a day of reckoning approaches, whereby America won't pay its bills. One of the speakers on the House floor noted the hit to the nation's retirement funds during the past week of wheel spinning and blatant posturing and asked whether Congress was waiting for a 700-point down day before coming to its senses ala TARP.
IMHO, the failure to govern is obvious and means that the system needs drastic changing.
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