I missed this excellent interview with my local Congressman, John Shadegg, whom I don't always agree with but is still way better than 99% of Congress:
David Freddeso: Is a bailout necessary to save the economy at
this point from complete collapse "” from a major failure of multiple
institutions at the same time?
Shadegg: I think that's the most difficult question that
could be posed under these circumstances, and it's the question that I
have struggled all week to find the answer to. I have talked to a lot
of smart people who know Wall Street, know banking, know the economy
quite well, and you hear different opinions. Some will tell you that it
is absolutely essential. Quite frankly, I'm skeptical about that.
But I think that in some ways the question doesn't matter any more.
Because Secretary Paulson chose to raise the matter in the way he did "”
that is, to go public in a very high-profile way, not just with his
concern, but with a kind of Chicken-Little, the-sky-is-falling kind of
demand "” it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
That is to say, once the secretary of the Treasury announces to the
world that there is a pending financial collapse, perhaps as great as
the Great Depression, and Congress must act "” he has sent a signal that
essentially tells world markets that Congress must act. I will tell you
that has been one of the most frustrating things about this since the
I can't tell you how many members of Congress were stunned at that
news, and were stunned that none of their local bankers were calling
them. And then they called their local bankers, as I called my local
bankers, and my local bankers said, "I think things are just fine." I
talked to one banker who said, "Gosh, we've got money, and we're
liquid, and we're making a profit. And we're in the market selling
loans, and we've got competitors trying to sell loans against us."
So, at that point, there's a disconnect. Secretary Paulson is
claiming that this is a catastrophe of generational proportions that
could go worldwide. And none of what we were hearing back home matches
that. And I'm not speaking just for myself, but also for many of my
colleagues who were making similar calls. They weren't being called by
their bankers, or by any of the businesses back home saying, "I can't
borrow any money".... If, in fact, Paulson had struck a chord with the
American banking community, wouldn't you think that after he announced
on Friday that there was a crisis of liquidity that threatens the
entire nation's financial solvency and Americans' jobs from coast to
coast, that my community bankers in Arizona wouldn't have been picking
up the phone by Monday morning, if not over the weekend, to say that "I
share the Secretary's concerns"?