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Bail Outs And Other Fun

Watching the capitol hill antics this week gave me pause. First, I was simply stunned at the auto execs un-preparedness for those hearings (though they're much better this past session...with room yet for improvement). I have not heard a single question posed to them that should have been unexpected. Glad they chose to finally do some homework this past week. However, it does make me wonder if they are the right people to lead this "reformation". If they are so disconnected to have missed all the signals for a tough questioning, why should I believe that they are in any position to read the desires of the American public? And be able to bring desired cars to market? Gads, lord help us!

With all this, I've thinking about all this mess at a macro level. Is the best public investment in the companies? Or would it be better to invest the public money in a safety net? Providing solid unemployment benefits, as well as career transition assistance for the displaced seems to me to be the better investment. It would be more likely to instill confidence and recharge spending.

In addition, it would make me feel better to hear policy-makers talking about how to best serve those now unemployed. I think this will last for quite some time, and we would do well to consider the long term recovery process. These half-million new unemployed, and those who follow soon, will probably take some time to get re-absorbed into the economy. Tough times ahead, indeed.
Via BlackBerry


I share your, what's the word... mixed feelings toward the potential solutions to the crisis.

Something that continues to concern me, that may not be a major solution, is top exec pay. I've yet to hear of many major CEOs saying "Oh yeah, and in addition to the layoffs, I'm cutting my personal pay by 10 percent" or anything like that.

I know cutting one execs pay isn't going to prevent layoffs, but I think it sends a message and puts a better public face forward.

I had a lot of respect for a county commissioner in Kitsap who voted against pay increases for the elected county officials (even though they were lower than standard) because they were in a budget shortfall. She shared my thought (which was rare for this commissioner and me) that it just doesn't look good giving raises when everywhere else they're making cuts
Carl said…
Yep. I gained a great deal of respect for WSU's president for offering up a pay cut (I won't rehash Allan Mullay's fumbling around that question on Capitol Hill).

An additional concern I have, though, is whether Congress (and the other tiers of government) are considering that many of these unemployed will probably be pretty long term. If we don't shore up the bottom, we run the risk of this crisis spiraling down further. I see the potential of a continuing cycle of layoffs, foreclosures, bank failures, fear, crashing consumer confidence, economic seizure, layoffs....

Patty Murray's (Sr. Senator, Washington) recent newsletter actually touched on this, though. I'm feeling a bit more confident that those in power are considering this.