The Blame Game

Most Americans are still not aware of the depth of the financial problems that we faced last week, especially on Wednesday. What hasn’t been made clear is that our economy was literally on the brink of collapse. Many financial experts are using terms like “Financial 9/11” or “Pearl Harbor” or some other dire-sounding epithet. In my opinion, they are not far off.

While most of us are going about our business, happily unaware of the financial turmoil that is lurking, not on the horizon, but right outside our door, our politicians in Washington and elsewhere are busy blaming each other for the economic mess that we find ourselves in. They’re simply passing the buck in the blame game that has become so commonplace between the two major parties.

The fact of the matter is that both parties have their fingerprints all over this debacle. Former President Bill Clinton, along with a majority of Democrats and Republicans, passed massive deregulation of the mortgage industry, most notably with the Gramm-Leach-Biley Act of 1999. The Senate passed this bill 90-8 and the House of Representatives subsequently voted 362-57 in passing this bill in November of 1999. Many experts believe this was the major springboard for mortgage companies to ramp up risky loan practices.

If we are going to avoid making this crisis worse than it already is, our elected officials must work together to come up with a real solution, minus all the typical bickering, backstabbing, and bullcrap.


Change, Please!

Change…If you’ve had your television or radio on much over the last few months or been online, you’ve heard more than your share of this word from both of the top candidates for President. Both Barack Obama and John McCain have tried to co-opt this term as a kind of rally cry to signal to the masses that theirs is the campaign that is going to shake things up in Washington and create a new golden era of cooperation and good feelings in our country. The question, though, is either of these men capable or even willing to deliver on that promise?

On one hand, you’ve got a 72-year old McCain, who’s been entrenched in Washington politics for twenty-six years, elected first as a member of the House of Representatives from Arizona and then later as a Senator from the same state. He has a reputation as a “maverick” because of his willingness to work with Democrats on legislation. To be fair, McCain has worked with those on the other side of the aisle more often than most of his Republican colleagues. However, some of the results of that work haven’t exactly been beneficial to the country. His work with Democrat Russ Feingold on the McCain-Feingold Act of 2002 has resulted in the stifling of some forms of political speech while fueling the fires of the 527 organizations that many believe have made the political climate even more partisan, the exact opposite effect that this legislation was intended to have.

On the other hand, you have Obama, a young up-and-coming politician from Illinois. Obama claims to be the agent of change that the country so desperately needs but a closer examination of his career reveals the same old kind of politics that most of us have all come to despise. The political machine in Chicago, in which he was involved, is well known country-wide to not only be tough but often corrupt. Unfortunately, one cannot find much in terms of effort in Obama’s career at reforming that machine. Obama wants us to believe that he will bring change to Washington, yet he was not even able to bring change to a microcosm of that environment in his own back yard. At issue also are Obama’s associations with controversial public figures like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Father Michael Pfleger, William Ayers, and others. Some claim that these people do not reflect Obama’s views but, as the Bible verse says “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1st Corinthians 15:33).

In my opinion, neither one of these politicians is likely to bring much meaningful change to Washington. In fact, including the Vice Presidential candidates, the only one of the four that has much history at reforming government is Sarah Palin, the Republican running mate for John McCain. She’s not at the top of the ticket, though, so the question still remains. Can either Obama or McCain deliver on their promise of change? I seriously doubt either candidate can deliver the goods.

Change? No thanks…Keep the change.