Monday, September 22, 2008

A GOP Bailout Copout?

Via Andrew Sullivan, some republican voices are of the opinion that Republican legislators should oppose the bailout plan being put together by the Bush administration and Democratic congressional leaders. Their reasoning is so profoundly cynical, I scarcely believe it's sincere. They don't oppose a bailout because it's unwise (which could be argued, if one is a hardcore free-market capitalist), or that the proposal as it stands is unwise (which could definitely be argued regardless of your views). They think GOPhers should oppose it simply to have their opposition on record: so they can come back and claim that they were championing fiscal conservatism.

Now, being of a generally libertarian/free market bent, I'm ambivalent about the proposal: I don't think that it has been considered carefully by people who can understand it and either support or oppose it on an informed basis (I certainly wouldn't trust much of our Congress to understand its potential impact). I don't know that a bailout is necessary, period: long term economic health may be better if we just let this house of cards fall (disclosure: I have worked in the mortgage servicing industry for 15 years, and as such would see my employment prospects damaged as a result of allowing the mortgage industry to founder).

And I simply don't like the idea of passing legislation that has this much impact on us in an environment of panic. That's how we wound up with the USA PATRIOT Act. So I'm not exactly enthusiastic about the plan.

But to simply oppose it as campaign fodder is petty and irresponsible. The bailout, if one must occur, should be carefully considered by all legislators. If one sees an area of weakness that can be improved, it is the responsibility of every legislator to get involved and create the best possible outcome. These people are proposing that sitting legislators with obligations to this nation absent themselves from the process of governing in order to create a talking point.

So much for putting the nation first.

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