If Congress has shown us anything, it is that when they are scared, they'll do anything.
Seven years ago, in the twilight after 9/11 and in the wake of the anthrax attacks, Congress passed sweeping authorizations to the White House for war on a whim, and signed the so-called Patriot Act in record time.
Some members admitted that they didn't even read the bill before voting "aye."
One man, a prominent and even legendary congressman admitted, "We were afraid; they told us we had to pass the Patriot Act -- so we did it."
That same dank, semi-sweet smell is radiating through the halls of Congress, thicker than the clouds of cigar smoke.
This time it's financial fear. Politicians are once again dancing to the tune of others, to the Masters of the Universe on Wall Street, who need another bailout, bringing it to nearly a trillion bucks ($1,000,000,000,000!) in less than a month!
And just like last time, Congress is being suckered into coughing up the public's money--quickly--or else!
The Iraq War was a shell game that exploded into a debacle.
Remember how the media initially tried to link anthrax attacks to Al Qaeda? When the source is nailed to an apparently mad American scientist (question: was he really mad, or a scientist following government orders?), it's too late. The damage is done. The bills are passed. Powers are transferred. Hundreds of billions are spent and wasted? Right?
Congress has defied the common knowledge that we learn from our mistakes; because here we go again.
The administration yells, "Boo!", and Congress answers, "How much do you want?"
This is not to suggest (to paraphrase former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt) that the only thing to be feared is fear.
There really is a disaster looming in the financial world.
And Congress knew about it years ago (or certainly should have). Why else would they've passed the amended Bankruptcy Act several years ago? Why would they pass a bill making it harder to file bankruptcies--unless they saw a tidal wave of it coming down the river?
They knew it was coming, as certainly as autumn follows summer.
Congress is poised to, once again, transfer public wealth to private businesses, in a mad dash to re- wrap bad loans as new instruments, so that these securities could be peddled to new buyers.
Who'll buy? Will Wall Street? Don't bet on it. Will you? Probably not.
Perhaps China will buy up these new instruments --but don't hold your breath!
9/23/08 (c) Mumia Abu-Jamal