All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day

Well, McCain is doomed. No, not because of the polls. Because the Washington Redskins lost last night. If the 'Skins lose their last home game before the election, the incumbent party loses the White House. (Obama and McCain were on Monday Night Football. I have to say, McCain is the funnier of the two. His Berman imitation was a hoot.)

In a comment on an earlier post, Peggy expressed concern that I wouldn't be voting. I will be voting. I haven't missed an election since I turned 18, even in college, when I had to register in an unfamiliar city and walk an hour in the rain through a strange neighborhood to find the polling place.

I won't be voting for anyone who supported the bailout for billionaires, and that includes McCain, Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Chuck Schumer. I know many people think this is extreme, so I thought I'd explain why it isn't.

One, my vote won't make a difference. New York is true-blue (even if my corner of it is not). Though parts of upstate New York are as redneck as they come, the huge urban populations in Buffalo and especially New York City are reliably Democratic, and always outweigh the more rural upstate areas. That being the case, why not vote my conscience?

Two, this bailout is a much bigger deal than people realize. It amounts to a looting of the country. Billions of taxpayer dollars are going into the pockets of the already obscenely wealthy. Some Congress critters are now saying they didn't know this would be allowed; they lie. They knew, and they went along with it.

Something had to be done, yes, but this wasn't it. It's not an Swedish-style bailout, and it did not force companies to come clean. It's the lying that's making the markets so skittish, not lack of cash.

Three, I honestly don't think it will matter who is president over the next four years. Four years ago, I would have cared, deeply. But now...I see the country, heck, the world, going off the rails in a way that cannot be easily fixed. The problem is not a Democratic or Republican one. This financial crisis is not just Bush's fault. He didn't help, but the roots of it go back to at least the dot-com boom of the Clinton years, and possibly as far back as the Vietnam War.

And the bailout will tie the hands of the next president. Obama can talk about health care and renewable energy all he wants, but where will he get the money to pay for it? He'll be lucky if he can keep the lights on at the White House.

The problems are so profound that I don't see them being easily resolved. The global financial system is broken, perhaps even more so than during the Great Depression. This will take years to fix, if it's even possible. Most people don't realize how broken the financial system is, because it hasn't really hit Main St. yet. (Some are starting to realize it, though.)

So, with so much at stake, why did our leaders choose to do something as ill-considered and ineffective as the bailout for billionaires, despite being warned against it by hundreds of economists? I have two theories. Perhaps TPTB know the end is near, and decided to loot the country while there's still anything worth looting. Or, more charitably, they may have seen it as necessary to keep foreign investors happy. Denninger points out that the new president will be faced with borrowing 10 times what we borrowed last year, just to keep the country running. We are living off our credit cards, and if we are cut off, the results would be unimaginably ugly.

Yes, I know the stock market has rebounded a bit. I expect it may continue for awhile, with the uncertainty of the election behind us. Don't be fooled. Most of the Dow's biggest upward swings were just after the crash of 1929. It was years before the market actually hit bottom and started to rise.

I hope I'm wrong. I don't want to live in "interesting times." I'd much rather live in a world where my biggest concern is tonight's lineup. But I don't think I am. We'll find out, soon enough.


posted by BubbaFan, 6:08 AM


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