Monday, September 29, 2008

Dow Jones - 777.68; NASDAQ - 199.61; S&P 500 - 106.85

Very bad day on Wall Street. The $700b bailout bill collapsed in the House, and the markets are reacting with near panic. This is a very bad situation, very bad.

The Dow Jones fell 6.98%, or 777.68 points. NASDAQ fell 9.14%, or 199.61 points. S&P 500 fell 8.81%, or 106.85 points. I'm taking these numbers from the front page at CNBC, so feel free to visit there for answers.

Like most of you, I've had serious misgivings about the bailout proposal moving through Congress. The original Bush/Paulson proposal was a disaster, closer to a bank robbery than an economic rescue. I wouldn't trust these monsters with making toast. But the Democrats did manage to work many changes to the bill, and at least made it a bit stronger. Still not the best option available, but what else is there?

I don't know what could pass through, given that the House Republicans seem determined to squash anything that goes against their stupid ideology. I don't think they even know how to govern anymore, if they ever did. Everything is politics to the GOP now. Everything is just a damned game. Neither party wanted to pass this $700 bailout. It's deeply unpopular. But what other options are there? I mean, seriously. What great ideas do you have to save this economy from collapse?

The Republicans offer more of the same. More deregulation. More tax cuts. This is exactly what I mean; their obsession with the party mantra and the ideology has completely consumed them. This was the party that brought us into this mess. Now they refuse to do anything to get us out. Maybe they're perfectly happy. After all, they got their wars and their tax cuts. They'll have their attack ads. Is that all that matters to the GOP? At long last, have they no sense of shame?

John McCain's campaign this past month just illustrates this further. Everything is just a game, just politics. There is no policy, no ideas, no clue about what to do. And, like it or not, we're stuck with them in charge for four more months. Four more months of George W. Bush and the GOP. Chew on that while you worry about your 401(k) and your savings.

I don't mean to turn this into a partisan rant or behave childishly. I'm still dazed at the moment. I expected that bailout bill to pass. Didn't like it, but I like the prospect of "nothing" even less. This is the worst possible time for lasseiz-faire politics.

Hopefully, this moment will enable us to try a better idea for rescuing the financial system than Paulson's rediculous bailout. Unfortunately, the better ideas all run left of the dial, purely New Deal-type politics. I don't think the House Republicans will get on board for that; heck, they'll fight even harder to grind the gears to a halt in that event.

I have no idea what will happen next. I'll keep my eyes open to the foreign markets and the Dow futures, which should clue us in to tomorrow's action. Was today's 777-point drop a beginning or an end? If it's the beginning, well, whatever. Nothing much really matters at that point. Hug your children. Plant some flowers. Life is about to become much more difficult very soon.

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