Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Congress jabbers, market falls

The market was somewhat of a relief for much of the day even as Paulson, Bernanke, and Cox were questioned by Senators. For the most part it was a reasonable give and take from what I saw, with open questions but general support for doing something. It seemed at times like the Senators knew that they were going to be approving something large and dramatic but were buying some political cover.

Then that hearing was over and in the afternoon an unknown, to me, Democratic representative from Maryland whose claim to fame is apparently raising money for the Democrat's campaign committee decided to talk to reporters, at a little after 2pm. According to Bloomberg he said that it would be difficult for House Democrats to support the financial market rescue. Immediately the market cracked, once again, and the last two hours were down down down. Then reporters began talking to the Kentucky baseball player who is also a Senator and he whipped up the no nothing school of credit markets into a frenzy, and others members from both sides of the aisle began to jabber. The Bloomberg story on this is disturbing, and I'm so glad that I wasn't watching CNBC through all of this.

Earlier I had caught the new anchor on MSNBC, the aging preppy David Gregory who had been NBC's White House correspondant, and he had no understanding at all of what's going on. He made Olbermann and Matthews look smart. Fortunately he did interview a columnist from the Washington Post who seemed to be a veteran observer of the markets and he was brilliant. After hearing a little of that Gregory cut him off abruptly and said there was no more time, and it seemed obvious that he did not want to hear what was being said by someone who was so much more knowledgeable that his ego was getting bruised.

The fact that this financial proposal is being presented by all of these media commentators as a rescue of Wall Street is bad, some sort of false populism that now is not the point, not the point with the exception of getting the personal approval of many Americans watching who simply don't understand any argument for or against the proposal. Give-em a cliche that they want to hear. It's sort of obvious at this point that Wall Street has already been devastated.

The only good news here is that Congress plans to recess on Friday, or had planned to, going back to their homes to put in a little campaign time and vacation time in their states and districts. They can't possibly leave D.C. without doing anything. That would be a calamity. Maybe arm twisting can get this done soon if only because the congressmen want to go home.


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