Apparently the president is making a speech tonight about the current economic "crisis". (The scare quotes aren't to diminish the seriousness of the situation; I'm just really sick of that word). Anywho, an advance copy of the president's speech seems to be making the rounds. An excerpt:
To sustain this shining city on a hill, we need to rescue the ignorant, irresponsible folks — from Wall Street to Capitol Hill to Main Street — who got us to where we are today. We must guarantee that no American suffers the soft bigotry of being forced to live with the consequences of his bad decisions. Our financial system rests on a foundation of huge banks, brokerage houses and quasi-governmental agencies that followed Washington’s lead by gambling on long-shot, poorly-collateralized investments.Man, I wish this was going to be his speech. Not that I disagree that the recent bailouts were necessary (that judgment is well beyond my expertise, so I'll trust the experts), but instead of hearing politicians rail against greed [pointedly coughs in Senator McCain's direction], I'd like to hear a bit more of an admission of how we've gotten ourselves into this situation through our own collective irresponsibility. Aspects of the current crisis have been fed by poor (and bi-partisan) decision-making in Congress, on Wall Street, and at our own kitchen tables. If our politicians succeed in placing some quick blame and doing a legislative patch-job, we'll only succeed in laying the foundation for more trouble down the road.
Now this glorious way of life is threatened, and we must act to preserve it. We need to guarantee that the structures, systems, people and products that got us to this point won’t be tossed on the ash heap of history. If these giant companies fail, then America will be left with nothing but thousands of small to mid-sized financial firms that made prudent investment decisions during the past 15 years.
Americans value the liberty they have to buy homes they can’t afford, to invest in securities backed by nothing but hope, and to draw six- and seven-figure salaries based on the courage to risk taxpayer dollars on deals that even the dealmakers don’t understand.