Very interesting times to be living in the US, especially in regards to the US economy and financial infrastructure. The unthinkable just a few short years ago (Lehman effectively ceasing to exist, AIG teetering on the brink, et al) not only becoming thinkable but full-blown reality, with the brutal end coming in just a matter of a few short days.
And, honestly, there's really no end in sight, at least not for years, once the momentum starts to build. WaMu is very likely next, with the US government, once again, eventually being forced to step in and bail out yet another financial institution that "cannot be allowed to fail." Each bail out, though, is effectively just prolonging the larger, slow-motion failure that's coming home to roost after eight years of historic, epic failure on the part of the current administration that will likely never be eclipsed.
(Note: funny in that I saved the above as a draft about a week ago, before the $700 billion bailout news hit the wires, and that the unthinkable became even more super-duper-unthinkable).
So, umm, yeah. Wow. Not that the $700 billion bailout plan isn't eye-popping enough, but the audacity of Paulson and his buddy Ben to think they can ram this thing through with absolutely no oversight or checks and balances, just by using lots of dire, scary words like "recession", "catastrophic consequences", and "failure". And the icing on the cake of Bush standing tall and shaking his little monkey fist, threatening to veto any legislation that isn't a simple blank bailout check. Wth none of them all that concerned, really, and not giving much of a damn about appearances. as they know they'll get exactly what they want in a few days, because that's how the system works, because that's how they've made the system.
It's this sort of thing that baffles me in the context of the current election and how the mantle of "change" is alternately mocked and embraced, seemingly at random. I'm a pretty piss-poor Democrat these days, and fall on the Republican side of the fence on more than a few issues (and, honestly, I'd have probably voted for the old pre-sellout McCain over Kerry, if McCain had gotten the nomination), but how this election is anything other than an Obama landslide is beyond me. And, really, a pretty terrificly depressing thing to ponder, as it speaks more to flat-out racism and bigotry more than anything else.
I don't think Obama is a savior. Far from it. But for the love of Jebus, isn't it time to try something new? How many more signs do you need that the current status quo isn't working? Yes, indeed, it'll be more of the same with Obama, and we'll still struggle with crippling national debt, unpopular wars, and creaking, groaning infrastructure that's showing its age. We'll struggle with that for many, many years. There's no avoiding it, as too many chickens are coming home to roost, and we've largely turned into a fat, lazy nation of TV-obsessed mouth breathers with mounting personal debt and negative savings rate.
But thumping our chests and trampling on anyone in our way isn't the way forward. Cronyism isn't the way forward. More tax cuts for the wealthy isn't the way forward. More water boarding and phone taps. More governing from a personal sense of entitlement and divine guidance. We've tried all that. It ain't working, kids. It just flat out isn't working.
And I'll be the first to admit that voting for "Someone Else" (in this case Obama) isn't the best situation to find oneself in, but that's exactly the spot this country is in. While it's pretty funny to watch the wheels fall off the Palin sideshow as its exposed for exactly what it is, it's also pretty damn sad to watch our electoral process be mocked by the rest of the world for the Springer episode that it's rapidly devolving into. Funny but sad.
In the end, who knows. I hope we elect someone who manages to steer us through the current mess this country is mired in. Or at least puts us on a different path than the one we're on, one with a decent chance of navigating through the muck. If that means higher taxes, then tax the crap out of me. If that means short term pain, then bring the pain. Just stop pretending that this country is on the right path and that with faith in God and a little more trickle-down economics, we'll plow through this little rough patch just fine and be back to glory days in no time flat.