Pass the Bill

| Fri Sep. 26, 2008 12:26 PM EDT

PASS THE BILL....Can I say something? Thank you.

I understand that John McCain wants to rescue his drowning campaign and thinks a dramatic moment as Savior of the Financial System might be just what he needs. I understand that House Republicans are right-wing lunatics who probably think we could solve all our problems if we just went back on the gold standard. I understand that congressional Democrats don't want to pass a bailout bill unless they have political cover from across the aisle. I understand that Henry Paulson is not the most credible messenger and that his original rescue proposal was a joke. I'm very happy that Chris Dodd and others have added oversight, equity shares, CEO compensation limits, and funding tranches to the Paulson bill. It's still not perfect, but at this point it's not a bad job from the sausage factory either.

Now: will you just pass the fucking thing? We've been flailing around with enormous, unprecedented, ad hoc rescue attempts for over a year, and they haven't worked. Despite what lunatic Republicans think, despite what the public thinks, despite what even some of the reality-based blogosphere apparently thinks, our financial system really does seem to be on the verge of seizing up. This is not just a scam cooked up by George Bush and Ben Bernanke and a sinister cabal of GOP machers.

We're already fated to suffer through at least a moderate recession whether we like it or not, but I, for one, would like to avoid a massive one. I would like to do this even if the price includes saving a few rich people from having to sell their second yachts. We can settle their hash later. I would even like to do this despite the fact that I don't know with absolute certainty that everything in the current bill is either necessary or sufficient. It's true that a few more days of discussion probably won't hurt, but that doesn't mean it's OK to waste time assuaging the egos and political careers of grandstanding presidential candidates and the economic illiterates who man the GOP House caucus. For chrissake, people, just pass the bill.

Now go read Steven Pearlstein.

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