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The View from Wall Street
The news ticker on Times Square shows a loss of 778 points on the Dow Jones industrials. (AP)

The news ticker on Times Square shows a loss of 778 points on the Dow Jones industrials. (AP)

Washington’s message to Wall Street yesterday: drop dead.

And Wall Street nearly did. A 777-point loss on the Dow. The biggest one-day point drop in history.

It might have felt good to smack Wall Street one, after the meltdown of the last ten days. Problem is, they are us, too. Pension funds, savings, dreams.

And yet, they’re different. Huge pay packages, golden bonuses, yachts and mansions. Risk that we bear.

This hour, On Point: Fear, panic, and the view from Wall Street now. Plus, we’ll hear from novelist Tom Wolfe, who first unveiled Wall Street’s “masters of the universe.”

You can join the conversation. What next? What now? And what’s your message to Wall Street?

Guests:

Joining us from Washington is Greg Ip, U.S. economics editor for The Economist. He’s been reporting from Capitol Hill on the Congressional negotiations over the bailout.

With us from New York is Jesse Eisinger, senior writer for Portfolio magazine. He covers finance and Wall Street.

Also from New York, we’re joined by David Beim, a professor of finance and economics at Columbia Business School and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He worked for 25 years in investment banking, and currently serves as a director of a cluster of mutual funds managed by Merrill Lynch.

And with us from New York is Tom Wolfe, novelist and social chronicler, author of “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” (1968), “The Right Stuff” (1979), and many other books. His 1987 novel “The Bonfire of the Vanities” brought us the phrase “masters of the universe” to describe Wall Street’s high-rolling hotshots. He’s watching the current meltdown.  His forthcoming novel, about immigration in Miami, is “Back to Blood.”

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  • Sharon Lowe

    Can we please stop calling this financial rescue package a “Wall Street bailout”? Yes, many on Wall Street benefitted in the past but what we are doing is rescuing the American public who want to be able to get mortgages and other loans: who have 401(k) plans and other pension plans that will be wiped out if we let this continue; and who want to continue to be gainfully employed but whose jobs are very threatened if we don’t address the problems. We are helping American businesses both large and small – what will happen to the automakers if no one can get a car loan or if thousands lose their jobs so they cannot afford a car? What will happen to real estate related businesses if people cannot get mortgages, cannot afford to buy or keep their houses, or cannot afford to continue paying their mortgages?

    Just as resolving the S&L crisis was not a bailout of the S&Ls – we were keeping our promise to pay the depositors of the S&Ls that failed – this is not a bailout of Wall Street. This is a plan to save the American way of life.

  • Brenda

    The news media and government officials are creating a “scare”! The market needs this “rectal emena”. I am a small business owner who has successfully planned for this event. Also, I would like to see some people in prison for this!! There hasn’t been any mention of that!! NO bail out!!

  • Pearl

    It seems that many in the public still don’t understand how this market melt down and credit crunch can affect many innocent people. Bush and Paulson are not doing a good enough job to explain to American people of how urgent and necessary for this bill to pass and how the tax payers will benefit from it. Many still feel that this rescue package was only a bailout for Wall Street’s big investment banks. One Republican congressman said the calls were 99 to 1 against the bills. Many small business owners may have to lay off people soon if this bailout fill doesn’t pass, and more banks will be down. That affects many of us in many ways, not just in our 401K or retirement plan. Our 401K plan may recover if people have over 10 or 20 years to wait, but many people will lose jobs now, and companies will be closed because of this. Many Republican Congressmen in fear of facing re-election feel that they have to listen to their overwhelming consituents to vote down the bill. It is very sad that when it was a good time, the Republicans don’t mind to take side of the deregulatory policies. Now they are using the excuse of ‘protecting the tax papers’ to be irresponsible again. I can see that this is very confusing and anguishing to the general public and many just want someone in jail. Maybe those who receive bonuses from the past 5 or 10 years should caugh the money up to help pay for this. Maybe the assets of many rich executives should be seized and sold on Ebay to benefit this.

  • Susan Rayne

    Two points:

    1. If it’s good enough for Buffet, it’s good enough for me. Why doesn’t the Government purchase perpetual preferred stock with a 10% dividend, and impose financial covenants? Better than any laws cooked up by a know-nothing Congress!

    2, If we’re going to call this a bailout, then let’s bail out someone. How about throwing some money at the homeowners, offering compensation in the cases of fraud and predatory lending (and prosecuting those lenders, seeking restitution), and restructuring (longer loan terms) for everyone else?

  • Brenda

    One more thing from the previous comment. Americans need to start being responsible as well. Too many live in homes and drive cars that they simply cannot afford. It’s all in materialism and social climbing. This is now my problem as a tax payer?? Americans need to stop pretending to be more monetarially well off than they are. It is a bad example for our childern.

  • Bill H.

    Ms. Lowe,

    Ever read An Inquiry Into the Wealth of Nations (Adam Smith)? Ever hear of “There’s no such thing as a free lunch?” (Milton Freidman) How about incessant free-market ramblings surrounding the principles of “Laissez Faire?”

    Markets will work themselves out. Gain & Pain go hand-in-hand. Irrational exuberence begotten by greed created this correction. Live with it.

    My friends, family and neighbors were conservative. Sage spending and wise decision-making leaves us completely unaffected by this “crisis”–or very, very mildly so.

    Bill H.

  • sara

    We need to start taking care of ourselves on an individual level. Stop complaining and deal with some of these issues. How on earth can we expect the government to support the entire economic structure of the United States, when we as its citizens can’t make minimal decisions on our own. lets clean up on a local level, get involved and change the situation before this outrageous bill gets passed!

  • Rick

    I think calling it a bailout is accurate and fair. Perhaps we haven’t exactly identified WHO were bailing out, but it’s a bailout.

    Which makes it all the galling to me that the Executive and Legislative branches of government, the media and the pundits are all, without exception, using the same language that a kidnapper or extortionist would use: “Give me your money or the kid (your nest egg, your home, your job) dies!” Such language does nothing more than inflame the fight or flight reflex and suppress rational thought. More than anything else, this framing of the situation and the solution makes me more inclined to be suspicious of those spouting this rhetoric.

  • sara

    so there are about 7 billion people on earth…. $100 anyone?

  • Erich Riesenberg

    Tom is such a poor interviewer. I don’t think he knows much about many of the topics on the show and he does not let guests speak freely.

    I wish he would talk less and listen, and let us listen, to his knowledgeable guests more.

    Has Tom even read the 3 page bill proposed by Paulson? He could have a much more interesting conversation if he studied the issue before discussing it.

  • Brenda

    Thank you Bill. People who put there money in the market take RISKS!! Sure the martgage and banking business was looking good and everyone to ride the wave. But IT IS A RISK!! My husband works in the mortgage business. We did what most people apparently didn’t, which was diversity and plan. No Bail Out!!

  • Marianella V.

    I am curious to know EXACTLY why those congressmen did not approve the package.
    I have read some place that the republicans did not vote for the package because it was not valuing the assets at their inflated value rather than at the value they are today. Are they really for the people or for Wall Street?
    Would they have voted for it if their seat was not at stake?
    I don’t necessarily agree with the package, but I think republicans are creating a smoke cloud to make us think they are the rational ones. I think we know for the past 8 years that this is not the case.

  • Laura Behrens

    I received this as I was listening to the program. I usually find these sorts of things ridiculous, but frankly, this intrigues me.
    ___________________________________________
    This will NEVER happen – makes too much sense!

    This guy hit it on the head !!!

    I’m against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.

    Instead, I’m in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a We Deserve It Dividend.

    To make the math simple, let’s assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+.

    Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..

    So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals $425,000.00.

    My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It Dividend.

    Of course, it would NOT be tax free. So let’s assume a tax rate of 30%.

    Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes. That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.

    But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket. A husband and wife has $595,000.00.

    What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?
    Pay off your mortgage – housing crisis solved.
    Repay college loans – what a great boost to new grads
    Put away money for college – it’ll be there
    Save in a bank – create money to loan to entrepreneurs.
    Buy a new car – create jobs
    Invest in the market – capital drives growth
    Pay for your parent’s medical insurance / health care improves Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean or else

    Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.

    If we’re going to re-distribute wealth let’s really do it…instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 (vote buy) economic incentive that is being proposed by one of our candidates for President.

    If we’re going to do an $85 billion bailout, let?s bail out every adult US Citizen 18+!

    As for AIG ? liquidate it.
    Sell off its parts.
    Let American General go back to being American General.
    Sell off the real estate.

    Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.

    Here’s my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn’t.

    Sure it’s a crazy idea that can “never work.”

    But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!

    How do you spell Economic Boom?

    I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion
    We Deserve It Dividend more than I do the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC .

    And remember, The Birk plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.

    Ahhh…I feel so much better getting that off my chest.
    Kindest personal regards,
    Birk T. J. Birkenmeier, A Creative Guy & Citizen of the Republic

    PS: Feel free to pass this along to your pals as it’s either good for a laugh or a tear or a very sobering thought on how to best use $85 Billion!!

  • michael richardson

    Boy who cried wolf?

    This administration has convinced us of crises in the past, enough to lead us into a war that we later learned was wrong, and for which we have paid dearly. I wonder if the current administration has failed to convince us this time because it has lost all credibility among Americans. If so, what a very curious and profound consequence of the Iraq debacle.

  • http://theeclecticone.com Bill

    I’m frankly getting really sick of people saying “We” when they talk about prolifigate spending and over-borrowing. We’ve been living like monks for years, socking away every spare penny into savings to prepare for the future.
    We rented when we could have bought because the market was inflated.
    We carry no debt from month to month except a car loan.
    Now we’re being asked to bail out people who got all the benefit from stupid behavior and don’t want to suffer the consequences.

    STOP SAYING WE. Speak for yourself dammit!

  • http://www.onpointradio.org Emanuel

    “What about the trillions in CDOs that are not regulated that are still out there as insurance “contracts” and are underpinned by faulty morgage-backed securities?! This is in direct relation to congress passing law to unregulate these CDOs. AIG went down for this, why doesn’t the Fed call on all smaller AIG types to disclose their CDOs that are going under?” There should be no legistaltion and bailout without these disclosures.

  • jeff

    We have met the enemy and he is us…

    Walt Kelly

    How true this is.

    I would like to know how many of the callers who were against this bailout had been spurned on by all the right wing talk shows. This is what happened in the immigration vote.

    I think the extremist (left and right) of the country and the shadow of Ronald Reagan are destroying this country.

    We need leaders not people who are constantly worried about getting reelcected.

    What kind of society do we want to live in?

    One that is 100% market driven in which a person can work their whole life and due lack of health insurance has to suffer and file for bankruptcies due to health care bills.

    Is this what we want?

  • Sarah E

    This is like the boy who cried wolf. The Bush Administration has squandered any credibility it had through WMD in Iraq, lying for years about the state of the war in Iraq and our economy, politically-motivated firings of district attorneys, etc. and now that there is real danger to our country, no one will believe it.

    Erich, you must be kidding! I think Tom is great and I really appreciate his insight and knowledge when questioning his esteemed guests.

  • jeff

    Laura Behrens do the math it’s wrong.

    And it would not work anyway.

  • Richard

    What if Wall Street paid for their own malfeasance in the form of a nine year transaction tax?

    Tax deffered type individual retirement account transactions would be exempt, further insuring that those who caused the problem, pay for the problem-

    Why nine years? It is the value of the guess of the period elapsed since Phil Gramm and the GOP controlled congress failed to abort the conception of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000

    Great show, but would be greater if you and your guests spent an hour or so discussing alternate plans, given the fact that Henry Paulson’s Bush Administrations plan is flat lined with folks like me-

    RF in NH

  • G. SILVER

    Let it go. Wall street is way over valued. Housing is still way over valued. We need to know where we stand on realistic value of assets in the U.S. Not this unrealistic value of assets. Paper assets,weird investments, wheres the value? Help the homeowners that got taken by lairs and cheats, not wall street criminals. Credit got us here! Credit will not get us out. No banking bailout! Cash is still king.

  • Ashley

    It feels like there needs to be far more responsibility through out the business world, starting with Wall Street. I see this crisis as a symptom of that problem and an oppertunity to accept the effects of our collective irresponsible decisions and policies and learn from the experience.
    I really applaud the House for rejecting the Bail-out plan. It feels like so many other proposals of this administration: Hasty, lack of fore-sight, expensive, and in the end, a risky short-term fix.
    The situation is too grave to let it go unattended, but it seems as though there must be options that would pad the fall for the larger economy without federalizing our economic system or allowing our financial stewards, those entrusted to grow and ensure our finacial futures, to hoard wealth and prosper while the rest of us grapple with the fall-out.

  • Daniel Tregter

    HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF:

    About 10 years ago, almost to the date, the titanic hedge fund Long Term Capital Management failed. This fund was started in 1994 by the former Salamon Brothers bond arbitrage unit, which included several Harvard and MIT economists who believed they had computer modeled the bond markets without error. This weekend, I read the book WHEN GENIOUS FAILED, which tells the story. The thing that is frighteningly similar is that Long Term was doomed by its LEVERAGE. To make tons of money, it had leveraged its capital 30 to 1. When the Russian currency and bond markets collapsed in the summer of 1998, there was a Global liquidity crisis that prevented Long Term from getting out of its positions or trading at all. The fund lost over 100 billion in five weeks, most of it borrowed.

    The book begins with the New York fed chairman meeting with the heads of the great investment banks – Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan, Salomon Smith Barney among them., begging them to extend more credit to Long Term so that it would not fail. None would agree to extend more credit.

    HERE WE ARE, 10 YEARS LATER. BEAR STEARNS, LEHMAN, MERRILL LYNCH ARE ALL GONE. WHY? BECAUSE THEY LEVERAGED THEIR ASSETS ALMOST 30 TO ONE TO BET ON SPECULATIVE INTEREST RATE INSTRUMENTS, AND WHEN THE DO-DO HIT THE FAN, THEIR LIQUIDITY DISAPPEARED. HOW COULD THEY HAVE NOT LEARNED THE LESSON OF LONG TERM CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, AND FALLEN VICTiM TO AN IDENTICAL CRISIS?????

    The proposition that these financial managers are somehow more intelligent or sophisticated than us is a MYTH. I can’t even balance my checkbook, but I figured it out after reading 2/3 of a book in one weekend. How can we trust the markets when the powerful people who run them refuse to learn the lessons of history. What do we do? Regulation seems the only answer.

  • Pat B.

    We need to take our lumps or nothing will ever be changed to to fix the problem, not band-aid the symptoms. How many times over the last 20 years has the government had to bail out some financial entity. How many Enron’s are needed before it becomes understood the market, when left unregulated, will always seek to maximize profit without consideration to the long term effects. This is another case of no oversight and having to pay up after the market takes advantage of loopholes.
    Also, the same guys who are asking for a big bail out were previously running companies on Wall Street, so I am even less inclined to offer any help.
    Paulson( Goldman Sachs) also asked that he be made God/Emperor of the entire Treasury. And we should trust him?
    Congress certainly doesn’t, or was that a politically motivated vote?

  • http://entremeister.typepad.com/ Vinit Nijhawan

    Tom,

    I had a robust discussion with my MBA class last night about the wall street bailout. My sense is that US taxpayers will only be won over if:

    1. We assume equity in addition to the bad debt in these banks, the Citigroup deal for Wachovia is a good benchmark, with the Fed owning Preferred stock in Citigroup.

    2. The bonuses paid to investment bankers over the past few years should be donated to the fed as part of this bailout, beginning with Mr. Paulson’s bonus as CEO of Goldman Sachs in 2006 of $18.7M.

    Vinit

  • jeff

    What if the lumps are another depression?

    I agree that wall street needs eat it’s own mess and take on the chin. However if 30% of the people in the country become unemployed and 50% or more of the retiring boomer’s lose there 401Ks and IRA’s what then?

  • Tim Connor

    We are trying answer and solve this problem at the 34th floor of a skyscraper of problems.

    This problem is rooted in history and culture. Our cultural values now are that you need to own as much as you can in order to be somebody. You aren’t anyone unless you are better than the Jones’s.

    Historically this issue goes all the way back to the end of World War II. America was the only country with it’s industry standing after this war. There was an incredable demand both within the country and the world and we were the only ones that could supply it. This made us rich and we could buy our goods with real money that we saved.

    Then other countries caught up, international competition rose, demand dropped and out manufacturing jobs left! But we wanted to still keep getting more and more wealth. Our culture became addicted to wealth. So we kept on buying but this time it changed. Now we started to use credit to feed out addiction to wealth. We started to live in a lie via credit cards, home loans, car loans etc.

    In addition we wanted to get rich faster so we invested by vehicles like the 401K. All our money moved into the market out of our savings increasing our risks and you can actually see the market excellerate around 1982 when this vehicle got introduce. All this wealth is consolidated into a relatively few people and excellerated even further via the internet, dot coms and then the housing bubbles.

    Meanwhile our debt kept on growing, manufacturing jobs kept on leaving, regulatory oversight kept on eroding, Banks kept on laundering the bad loans, and individuals kept on buying houses they couldn’t afford.

    The only way we fix this is we start producing good jobs again that pay well, save more of our money and invest a little less and change our values somewhat and stop making wealth as the end all be all to self worth. Things like knowledge, science, community, helping our fellow man and women and if you are religious even that need to have a larger value when sizing up an individuals self worth.

    We are as a society way out of balance!

  • Mary

    I am angry that we now have to bail them out to ensure market liquidity, and ensure that the retirement investments of millions of people do not go down the drain.

    Our country needs to address the issue of fatcats, but I also don’t want the goverment to get too involved with individual compensation decisions.

    We should look at the role that BOARDS OF DIRECTORS played in this mess. Boards abdicated their responsibilities of internal monitoring. They ignored their legal duties to shareholders. Company leaders sit in multiple boards, and instead of monitoring, they go along to get along and vote for increases in each others salaries. While we can’t touch salaries that were “fairly” awarded, we can look at the failure of boards to live up to their duties.

  • Audrey Huntley

    I don’t think the people who have lived responsibly should bailout Wall St. Sure the country will probably go into a depression but the country will probably go ito a depression anyhow so why not save the $700 billion? The market needs to make corrects here and there and this is just a BIG correction. It may be painful but we need to live differently now not on credit. Pay for what you buy when you buy it.

  • Marc

    What hasn’t been discussed in the bailout or reported in detail is how Congress is going to address Credit Default Swaps (CDSs)and their continuing threat to the economy. Specifically are there more AIGs that insured mortgage bonds with CDSs and why did Congress in 2000 pass the Commodities Futures Modernization Act, barring federal regulators from regulating CDSs?

  • http://www.westernroadtrips.com pete

    It seems to me that many of these big financial institutions were allowed to “go public” and start selling shares of stock only within the last few years. What effect if any does this have? Seems like it basically made it possible for people to buy shares and give these guys more money to invest in mortgage backed securities and it allowed them to turn around and dump the risk back onto shareholders rather than keeping it in house as a privately held brokerage.

  • http://tombstone001.blogspot.com MOHAMMED N. RAZAVI, DALEVILLE, AL 36322

    posted on my blog on 22 Aug 2007

    BRAKING THE BANKS

    As the Gods on Mount Olympus looked down upon the mere mortals and took care of their own brood, the national bankers of the various industrialized nations are throwing dollars in the market to save their kin from the financial Armageddon. It has only delayed the day of reckoning. (This para added on the 13th of August 2007)

    SHOULD THE FED BE TRIED FOR TREASON, FOR UN AMERICAN PRACTICES, FOR SELLING OUT THE NATION, FOR LEAVING AMERICA BROKE??? FOR DESTROYING THE ECONOMY AND THE FUTURE OF OUR NATION, AND CAUSING THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD TO BE ENSLAVED!!

    It was over eighteen months ago when I asked Senator Shelby as to when the federal government spends the borrowed money (budget deficits), where does all that money end up at? Well there are many ways you can word this question, many ways to define the deficits, and there are many stories the government tells us about the deficit spending, but the end results are always the same and it seems that the money also ends up in the same pockets, sooner or later.

    Our government is more broke than any other government on the face of the earth, in as much as the number of dollars owed and promised to be paid back at some time in the future. There is no money in the social security fund to pay back the working poor and persons from so called lower middle class, who slaved for years for meager wages for a promise that they will be taken care of in their old age. That money has already been spent many times over, our federal government is on the hook for the under funded retirement funds, the FHA loans, the VA loans, the Medicare and the monies owed to the foreign governments and the banks, for the merchandise bought and sold in retail stores, what we call the trade deficit or current accounts deficit.

    As our MBA president brags about our booming economy, if he were to be honest he would be crying real tears for how broke we are, and that the house of cards that the Republicans (with help of sell out Democrats) have built could come down any time at the whim of a foreign or domestic banker or currency trader or the Chinese or Japanese Government.

  • Matthew T. Wood

    I thought this was an interesting bit of information. I have no way of validating these figures but maybe someone out there can.

    In 2005, Absolute Return magazine found there were 196 hedge funds with $1 billion or more in assets, with a combined $743 billion under management – the vast majority of the industry’s estimated $1 trillion in assets.[3] However, according to hedge fund advisory group Hennessee, total hedge fund industry assets increased by $215 billion in 2006 to $1.442 trillion, up 17.5% on a year earlier, an estimate for 2005 seemingly at odds with Absolute Return.[4]

    As large institutional investors have entered the hedge fund industry the total asset levels continue to rise. The 2008 Hedge Fund Asset Flows & Trends Report[5] published by HedgeFund.net and Institutional Investor News estimates total industry assets reached $2.68 trillion in Q3 2007. According to the BarclayHedge Monthly Asset Flow Report, hedge funds received only $15 billion in October, the second-lowest inflow in 2007. Year-to-date hedge funds attracted $278.5 billion, three times year-to-date inflow into equity mutual funds.

  • Matthew T. Wood

    Why is no one talking about Credit Default Swaps (CDS)? Tom, please do a show just discussing these “Instruments” so that people will really learn what is going on here. Here is an article Time Magazine did in March that does a fairly good job of explaining them.

    http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1723152,00.html

    Then if you want to know one possible way to fix this mess go to http://webofdebt.com

    I say don’t give one penny more of taxpayer money to these gamblers.

  • Peter Nelson

    I’m frankly getting really sick of people saying “We” when they talk about prolifigate spending and over-borrowing. We’ve been living like monks for years, socking away every spare penny into savings to prepare for the future.
    We rented when we could have bought because the market was inflated.
    We carry no debt from month to month except a car loan.

    We don’t even have a car loan. We do have a small mortgage but it’s a tiny slice of the value of our house (we expect to pay off our house by the end of next year). In 23 years of marriage we’ve had no consumer debt – no car loans, no credit-card loans, etc. We’re aggressive savers so we can pay cash for cars, vacations, furniture, etc. For over a decade we’ve paid the maximum the law allows into our 401(k)’s.

    So, needless to say, we’re pissed that not only our fellow Americans, but also investment “professionals” working for banks and investment companies have conducted themselves so recklessly and irresponsibly.

    Free market zealots say that people and companies should be free to take whatever risks they want – it’s their money and their neck. But what this episode illustrates is that when individuals and companies take excessive risks EVERYONE suffers if they fail. So I won’t support any “bailout” that does not include strict enforcement of new rules that enforce very conservative fiduciary responsibility by banks and investment houses, and strict limits on consumer and mortgage debt by individuals.

  • Peter Nelson

    One interesting aspect of this is that it is simply ASSUMED that if the government buys up the bad debt the credit markets will loosen up and banks will start lending again.

    This strikes me as the same mindless religious faith that makes Sarah Palin think Jesus will bless our war effort in Iraq.

    No one has shown any concrete evidence that this will actually be the case. I think we would need to see a specific quid pro quo agreement in writing from the banking industry and bond-underwriting industry , i.e., if the US does the $700B deal, they will guarantee their part WRT the credit markets.

  • Peter Nelson

    Today the Senate will vote on its own version of the Bailout and it’s even worse. It includes tax cuts and adjustments to the Alternative Minimum Tax that will put the US Treasury even DEEPER in the hole than the $700B.

    Now, no one would like to see the AMT adjusted more than me – I got clobbered by it in my last tax return. But any adjustment in it needs to make up for lost revenue. It’s just incredible that our elected officials can be this fiscally irresponsible and the voters don’t seem to care.

    NPR ran a story this morning that 200 economists have signed a petition opposing the plan . . .

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9522493

    But the Administration’s propaganda convinces the gullible – NPR also ran a report by David Wessel in which he said that the bailout plan may be flawed “but the alternative – doing nothing” is worse. Notice that phrase – without even questioning it, Wessel – a pundit for NPR and the Wall Street Journal – is propagating the lie that the alternative to this plan is “doing nothing”.

  • AV

    But the Administration’s propaganda convinces the gullible…[]

    Peter, come now. Do you really think the masses are that gullible, to be led astray like sheep, by some elites in the administration? I forget, is it the conservatives, or the liberals who think that way? :)

  • Peter Nelson

    Peter, come now. Do you really think the masses are that gullible, to be led astray like sheep, by some elites in the administration? I forget, is it the conservatives, or the liberals who think that way?

    I was referring to Congress.

    Did you see the “bailout plan” passed last night by the Senate?

    It included over $100B additional dollars for such things as disaster relief, aid to schools in the west, tax breaks for children’s wooden arrows, Exxon Valdez relief, extension of tax relief for wool research, domestic production in Puerto Rico, and auto racing tracks and lots of other “sweeteners”.

    This is a dangerously bad piece of legislation. It’s like the Iraq war with $100B of Bridges to Nowhere thrown in.

  • AV

    Peter, my comment was in response to your “elitist” statement re: media, and people not being sheep.

  • http://homealone.com sandra

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ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 3, 2014
This still image from an undated video released by Islamic State militants on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, purports to show journalist Steven Sotloff being held by the militant group. The Islamic State group has threatened to kill Sotloff if the United States doesn't stop its strikes against them in Iraq. Video released Tuesday, Sept. 02, 2014, purports to show Sotloff's murder by the same rebel group. (AP)

Another beheading claim and ISIS’s use of social media in its grab for power.

Sep 3, 2014
In this Fall 2013 photo provided by the University of Idaho, students in the University of Idaho’s first Semester in the Wild program take a class in the Frank Church-River Of No Return Wilderness, Idaho. (AP)

MacArthur “genius” Ruth DeFries looks at humanity’s long, deep integration with nature – and what comes next. She’s hopeful.

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Sep 2, 2014
Confederate spymaster Rose O'Neal Greenhow, pictured with her daughter "Little" Rose in Washington, D.C.'s Old Capitol Prison in 1862. (Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

True stories of daring women during the Civil War. Best-selling author Karen Abbott shares their exploits in a new book: “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.”

 
Sep 2, 2014
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks with Mark Wilson, event political speaker chairperson, with his wife Elain Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, August 4, 2012. (AP)

Nine weeks counting now to the midterm elections. We’ll look at the key races and the stakes.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Five Midterm 2014 Races To Watch
Tuesday, Sep 2, 2014

The five most interesting races of the 2014 midterm election cycle, per our panel of expert national political correspondents.

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Our Week In The Web: August 29, 2014
Friday, Aug 29, 2014

On hypothetical questions, Beyoncé and the unending flow of social media.

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Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

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