Sunday, November 16, 2008

Political Firestorm

We're in the midst of a political firestorm.  Our dire (word-of-the-day) economic situation, combined with the election of Barack Obama, has brought us into an era the demands massive government action.  The fight, just beginning, will determine just what that action will be.

As I write this, the immediate debate relates to the support the government should lend (figuratively and literally) to the so-called "big three" automakers, which are on the verge of collapse.  Without in immediate infusion of perhaps $25 billion dollars, they will close in a matter of months, leaving over three million people out of work, and deepening the financial collapse. A bankruptcy of an automaker, according to the New York Times, could cost the economy at least 175 billion dollars.  Some argue that the automakers are suffering for years of mismanagement and should be allowed to fail now, instead of postponing their bankruptcy.  Others claim the they are turning the corner, releasing more hybird vehicles than ever, and should be rescues from the current crisis.

T. Boone Pickens, the legendary Texas oilman, speaking on today's edition of "Meet the Press," just expressed his primary concern:  "Where does this all end?"  How many businesses can we afford to "bail out?"

We are in an strange time of both optimism and panic - elements that contributed in no small part to the nationwide street festival that broke out on election night when Barack Obama was elected.  

The Obama administration hopes to keep the electorate as engaged as they were during the election.  Any government action will require substantial public support.  Ideas and proposals are already being presented, but until January 20th, we're stuck in a leadership vacuum.  People are waiting to see what will happen.

As a nation, we're terrified  - but hopeful. 

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