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John Wayne's Holster: Congress: Leadership When We Need It Most!
John Wayne's Holster
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Friday, September 19, 2008

Congress: Leadership When We Need It Most!

An Empty Congress...

The United States is in the midst of its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The fall-out from the sub-prime mortagage crisis is just starting to be felt. Ripples are beginning to move through the economy.

So far, one of the country's most successful investment firms (Bear Stearns) went belly-up, as did two of the biggest names on Wall Street (Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers). Then, the country's biggest mortgages lenders (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) were nationalized. A few days later, the country's largest insurace company (AIG) had to trade 79.9% of its shares for a punitive loan from the Fed that will keep it alive just long enough for all its organs to be harvested. And two days ago, the country's oldest money market fund (The Reserve Fund) "broke the buck".

What's next?

The auto industry is not doing so hot. The Big Three automakers (General Motors, Ford and Chrysler) are already sniffing around Washington for $50 million in low-interest federal loans. Then there is the airline industry? They have not completely recovered from 9/11 and more recently have been hit hard by rising fuel costs. I suppose we will end up bailing them out too.

Of course, with all these bail-outs, the taxpayers are going to end up footing the bill.

Surely our elected leaders will step forward to stand-up for the people they claim to represent. After all, it is in difficult times such as these where America shines brightest. Isn't it?

Who will step forward? Anyone? Anyone at all?

crickets chirping...

What exactly is Congress planning on doing to help solve the economic crisis were are in? As it turns out, the Congress says that it will likely adjourn next week. Yep, their packing they are bathing suits and heading to the beach.

Harry Reid's Message to Taxpayers

When asked about the Congress' plans, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) stepped forward like the true leader he is, and boldly stated stated, "No One Knows What to Do"..."The [Banking and Financial Services Committees] is where the action is anyway."

And what are the "committes" doing about the problem? They passed the buck too. They turned it over to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke.

In other words, our elected "leaders" have turned over the responsibility for solving the biggest financial crisis since the Depression to a handful of unelected bankers whose primary loyalty lies with the Fed and its stock holders (i.e. - the guys that orchestrated the sub-prime mess in the first place).

And what do you know, Paulson and Bernanke already have a plan. Imagine that!

What is their plan, you ask? BOHICA!

Their plan is to "remove illiquid mortgage securities from companies' balance sheets." That's banker-speak for shifting the responsibility for all the bad loans to the taxpayer. That's right, we are picking up the tab yet again. And we are not talking about pocket change either. As Paulson himself said, "We're talking hundreds of billions [of dollars]". It will more likely be trillions, but then again, whose counting?

Personally, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. It's the same thing all over again. All the profits these now-defunct companies made along the way where pocketed by the banks and the CEO's. Now that they coffers are empty and they have debts coming out the wazoo, they have all fled the scene. Of course, they took their severence packages and their corporate bonuses with them.

And if I haven't mentioned it already, the taxpayer has to step in and pick-up the tab. Meanwhile, the bankers/CEO's are sipping champagne on the beach somewhere. And Conress it apparently getting ready to join them on vacation.

And who said there were no real leaders left in America?


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