Monday, 29 September 2008

The losers from the bail-out vote

Not many people have come out of today's vote against the Wall Street bail-out plan in the USA with their reputations enhanced, but some have come out in a worse state than others.

There are some fairly obvious losers. Firstly, and most importantly, is the whole financial system in the USA, and the world as a whole. Banks and shares are likely to continue to tumble over the next few days and weeks, putting more financial institutions at risk.

And that's having a knock-on effect across the whole economy. Although the debate on the bail-out plan has often been characterised as one of Wall Street v Main Street, the reality is that businesses on Main Street are finding it difficult get loans to help their businesses expand, while even getting a loan to buy a car or a new fridge is tough. The problems on Wall Street are having a direct impact on Main Street.

But on a political level, there are also several losers. President Bush, for instance, is discovering the true meaning of 'lame duck'. I can think of no comparable instance in recent times of a President putting a package before the House of Representatives which he deemed vital for the economic future of the United States and seeing it shot down in flames. Similarly, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, whose plan it was, has had his reputation battered.

Questions also have to be asked about the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives. Did they possibly over-estimate the support among their own party for the bail-out package?

But the biggest loser of this whole affair has to be John McCain. If you're a presidential candidate who suspends his campaign to get a financial bail-out package through Congress, then the least you can do is ensure that your own party is onside. Indeed, when your supporters are saying that you've been instrumental in getting the Republicans in the House of Representative on board, you'd better make damn sure they are.

This quote from The Guardian says it all:
After last week's drama , which saw the deal unravelling with McCain's arrival in Washington on Thursday, the Republican has been on the defensive against charges that he tried to exploit the crisis for political gain. He has also been trying to distance himself from his record in the Senate as a supporter of deregulation of the financial industry.
His camp pushed back hard against those charges yesterday, with Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, telling Fox TV that McCain had been crucial in engaging House Republicans on the bail-out. "I think it was decisive in regards to the house getting involved," said Graham.


So what was the result? MORE THAN TWO-THIRDS of McCain's own party in the House of Representatives refused to back the bail-out plan today. Well done, John. Great leadership. Why should anyone vote for you when you can't even persuade 2 out of 3 of your own party's legislators to back your position?

That leaves Barack Obama as the only real winner of this whole fiasco. In truth, he hasn't been doing a great deal on the financial bail-out and has left most of the negotiations to others. But when your main rival has had such a disastrous impact on the whole process and has failed utterly to have any positive impact on events, you can just sit back and bask in the sunshine.

The past week has demonstrated McCain's utter unsuitability to do the top job. And I only hope for America's sake, and the world's, that enough people in the USA recognise that fact between now and November 4.

4 comments:

Stephen B said...

"That leaves Barack Obama as the only real winner of this whole fiasco."

Is this the same Barack Obama that voted with the Democrats to reject McCain's plans for more regulation of the Fannie and Freddie markets before they got into trouble?

"MORE THAN TWO-THIRDS of McCain's own party in the House of Representatives refused to back the bail-out plan today"

As indeed did 40% of Democrats - including 'your preferred candidate' Kucinch

This quote from The Guardian says it all

Ah, the font of all disinterested reporting…

And I only hope for America's sake, and the world's, that enough people in the USA recognise that fact between now and November 4.

Bernard, you are slipping. As a lefty, you need to get some more hyperbole into that sentence - the words ‘scary’, ‘worrying’, ‘frightening’ and ‘truly terrifying’ are the ones most often abused by the commentariat in this context when talking about anyone that doesn’t have a liberal outlook. Points though for suggesting that the world will come to an apocalyptic end with the accession of McCain.

Anonymous said...

YAY! America still has some backbone! Thank God! The avergae American who actually takes the time to read and understand this ridiculous resolution would NEVER agree to it and congress didn't. THAT'S THE WAY IT'S SUPPOSED TO WORK! If you have not read the draft, do not be mislead by headlines...this bailout is a VERY VERY BAD THING for America. See for yourself by taking the time to read the doc...you can find it online in .pdf format, it is 106 pages but worth the read because it exposes the people who drafted it for the crooks they are. Shameless, unscrupulous, bullying crooks. Call your congressman, congratulate and encourage those who voted against this bailout package. Chastise those who voted for it! ANYONE who voted for this either doesn't understand it or ought to be ashamed of themselves for how they plan to benefit personally from it. Long live America! Land of the free! Home of the brave!

Bernard Salmon said...

Indeed, 40% of Democrats did vote against it, but the brutal fact is that a majority of the party backed it while two-thirds of Republicans voted against.
And as for the point about McCain, I want as president someone who understands the economy, who doesn't engage in pointless grandstanding and who is able to deliver the votes when it matters. McCain fails on all three counts.

Stephen B said...

"And as for the point about McCain, I want as president someone who understands the economy, who doesn't engage in pointless grandstanding and who is able to deliver the votes when it matters. McCain fails on all three counts."

...and, oddly enough, those are exactly my objections to the Liberal Democrats!

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