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Obama's taking a big risk here. For the odds are this thing won't work. A least not without still further measures beyond it. Like lots of Americans, I find myself instinctively against it. Especially with the jaw-dropping 'blank check' and immunity from investigation or persecution proposal Paulson first offered. He out-dicked Cheney there-- which is an impressive feat among our evil overlords. And of course there's the fact Bush and the Republicans have lied to us about virtually everything since they came into office, so far as we can tell (lots of their possibly worst deeds still remain cloaked in secrecy and fields of shredded documents). And it's primarily the Republicans' rich financial backers and buddies being bailed out here, so as to not lose a fraction of their vast fortunes (most would remain rich even if they had to swallow all the losses; but some might go to jail; the jail part's probably their biggest fear).
And yet...history shows the first (and only) time we ever allowed Republicans to control the Presidency, the House, and the Senate simultaneously for more than two straight years at once in the 20th century, they caused a financial crisis which led not only to the Great Depression, but possibly World War II itself (since the resulting economic conditions may have aided Hitler's rise to power).
Not until 2000 through 2006 did we finally allow Republicans this much control over government again. And look where we are now. Possibly on the edge of Great Depression II, according to some popular business pundits.
Lots of available evidence points to the crisis being plenty real enough. And America badly in need of a remedy.
Paulson himself (the highly questionable man in place to execute any bailout effort) may possess $50-100 million made from the same exact behavior which has led to the crisis. I.e., he was a major contributor to the mess in his own regard. Even before Bush anointed him for high government office, where he was able to do still more damage.
A massive overhaul of financial regulations must also be done to increase the chances of the bail out working. The essence of the overhaul could be as simple as merely rolling back all US finance laws to the state they were in around 2000 or before (maybe even 1990): i.e., to roughly the same structure FDR imposed after the first Republican Depression to prevent a repeat. However, as deceptive accounting practices have made great leaps and bounds since FDR's days, lots more transparency would have to be forced upon US big business too, at the same time. Perhaps by draconian means.
The major wheeler-dealers though will not allow these two changes, because it would put many of them out of business, or send them to jail-- and they own the Republican party, along with some hefty chunks of the Democratic too.
Another thing which would be necessary to give us our best shot at minimizing long term financial pain and ruin would be an honest and thorough investigation and harsh legal punishment of all those who enabled this state of the affairs in the first place. For this would help deter similar future behavior on the part of at least some would-be criminals and criminally behaving politicians.
Unfortunately, that won't happen either. Because Congress knows the investigation would inevitably lead to itself. Although it's likely most of the guilty are overwhelmingly Republicans, there seems to be a significant population of Democrats involved as well (for one thing, for six years under Bush Democratic members couldn't get anything passed for their own constituencies at all, without going along with various evil deeds on the part of the Republicans. Plus, some Democrats can be as tempted by the dark side as many Republicans; maybe even more so, as Democratic members are usually much poorer money-wise than Republican members). So the opposition to such an investigation would be decidedly bipartisan-- and fierce.
Yes: some of the culprits (like Republican Phil Gramm) are no longer in office. And so would seem more vulnerable to legal pursuit. But current Senators and Congressmen tend to protect previous members from as much as they possibly can-- thereby indirectly obligating future members to protect them from retroactive justice as well.
And all this is why America will not exit this crisis nearly as quickly or painlessly as it otherwise might.
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