Thursday, October 02, 2008

Pelosi's Hustle

Living in the big city, one often has experiences that raise the question: is that person malicious, inconsiderate, or just stupid? It's a recurring cause of wonderment.

And so are the actions of congress, at times. Take this week, for example. The US (and world) financial markets are in a historic meltdown. The lender of last resort, the Fed, appeals to congress for authorization to take some really drastic and necessary measures. And what does congress do? It says, "nah."

By the following day, the world's stock indices register an across the board decrease in wealth on the order of at least 7%-9% as a rough guess of the value of the House's signatures. Suddenly, the House has found a ready market it can mark the value of its assets to (meaning, they know they can fatten up the provisions of the rescue bill in myriad self-serving ways, because we're over a barrel). It does so, and the buyer (that's us) acquiesces because it has no choice.

Malicious, inconsiderate, or just stupid?

Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan has been making utterances to the effect that the current crisis is one that "occurs once in a century." The math guys say, no, it will only occur once every 10^257 years. In any event, we can all agree that it's a rare day when Congress holds all the aces from all the decks -- those above and those under the table. To their credit, they recognized that much.

Perhaps our esteemed representatives were caught up in a little bubble of their own. Surely some of them have taken on far too much leverage, and it's impaired their judgment. Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any statutory limit on how many times a Congressman can sell his soul.


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