Thursday, October 02, 2008

Doing the right thing the wrong way


I criticized members of my party for not voting for the plan that was needed to shore United States credit markets on Monday. What has transpired since then shows what is wrong with this nation.

President Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson met with the so called best and brightest and came up with a three page plan to shore up the United States credit markets. Anyone who understands the complexities of the today's global market understands the need to act. The smart guys came up with a painful, but clear and concise plan to shore up the credit markets.

Enter the Democrats. In order for Congressional Democratic leaders to get on board with the plan, they added an additional 100 pages of legislation. That plan was defeated in the House, and the stock market lost over a trillion dollars in value on Monday.

With the economy of the United States holding on by a string, enter both Republicans and Democrats who push for their special pet projects. Now, the simple plan that the best minds in finance came up with has ballooned to over 400 pages of legislation. In that legislation are provisions for things like money for Native American arrowhead replicas.

What is puzzling is that some of the conservative Republicans who voted "no" on Monday because they thought the plan cost too much, are now considering voting for the measure loaded down with extra goodies.

Where are men and women of honor? Why is it that the President's plan could not be voted on, up or down? Why is it that those who opposed the President's plan do not offer a specific plan of their own to address the crisis most people with any sense acknowledge? Why is it that men and women who claimed to stand on principle on Monday now stand ready to vote for the measure as long as it has some items from their Christmas wish list?

The system is broken. It started when Nancy Pelosi picked a fight with Republicans on Monday and even tried to have some Democrats not vote for the measure to put pressure on the Republicans. It continued with things not related to the credit market crisis being added to the bill to get support from people who supposedly were against such a plan on principle. What we seem to have in Washington are a good many members of Congress who don't really give a damn about Wall Street or Main Street. They are worried about how they look and about how their party looks. They are playing games with the economy and the nation in the balance, and seem not to care one bit.

All of that said, one of the honest guys in Congress is from South Carolina. Though I disagreed with Senator Demint's vote on the first round of the President's plan, I think Demint's vote on Wednesday was the right one. Voting no to the bloated bill that is bigger and more than what the President and the nation's leading finance minds asked for was correct. It also shows, agree with him or not, Jim Demint is a an honest man. If Demint thinks something is wrong to vote on, he won't change his mind if you give him an earmark or two. That is the kind of sincere leadership and sincere debate sorely needed.

As for the rest of them in Washington, well, no credit should be given for doing the right thing the wrong way.

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