Dear Congress: Put the Gun Down Now


Will 2008 be the year of the
Chicken Little Congress? Or can the House of
Representatives show the panic-driven Senate what it
really means to be a deliberative body?

On Sept. 19, Treasury Secretary

Hank Paulson
put a gun to America`s head: Pass his
$700 billion bailout
of the banking industry and
give him unfettered new powers to buy up an ocean of
privately held toxic assets, or all hell would break
loose. Treasury officials warned that the market would
lose a third of its value if the bill were not passed
immediately.



"We could see falls of 3,000 or 4,000 points on the
Dow,"
a
Republican official heaved.
"We may not have
another day,"
Democratic Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid hyperventilated.
"We can`t afford
to do nothing,"
echoed all the other Democratic
Henny Pennys and Republican Goosey Looseys in Paulson`s
sway. It`s a
"crap sandwich,"
House GOP leader John Boehner
sighed, but the costs of inaction would be worse.

On Sept. 29, the House refused to
bite. The Dow dropped nearly 7 percent — a
"record fall"
in points (778), but nowhere near the apocalyptic levels
predicted by Paulson`s fear-mongers. Half of that drop
occurred before the bailout rejection. The skies,
however gray, did not fall. The world did not end. The
dire predictions of Paulson and company did not come to
pass. The next day, stocks (their barometer, mind you,
not necessarily mine) rebounded. We`re about where we
were in 2006. Stock market Armageddon? I think not.

Paulson`s monumental misjudgment is
no surprise to those who have paid attention to him over
the last year. This is the man who proclaimed the
subprime crisis
"largely contained"
in April 2007;
"near the bottom"
in May 2007; and
"largely contained"
again in August 2007. This is
the man who pledged that he had
"no interest in
bailing out lenders or property speculators"
in
October 2007 and couldn`t
"think of any
situation where the backdrop of the global economy was
as healthy as it is today."

This is the man who patted himself
on the back for refusing to
"put taxpayer
money on the line"
to rescue Lehman Brothers on
Sept. 15 —  and then turned around the next day
and engineered the $85 billion taxpayer-funded bailout
of AIG. This is the man who vowed he had
"no plans to
insert money"
into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — and
then turned around and committed $200 billion in capital
and credit lines to those corrupt, bloated, crumbling
institutions.

This is the man who declared that
"the worst is likely to be behind us" in May 2008 — and then got
down on his knees in front of Nancy Pelosi to pass a
Mother of All Bailouts plan whose dollar figure was
plucked from thin air. ("It`s
not based on any particular data point,"
a Treasury
spokeswoman told Forbes.com.
"We
just wanted to choose a really large number
."
)

This is a man, in other words,
whose crap sandwich should be taken with a huge grain of
salt.

On Oct. 1, at the behest of
Paulson, the Senate scurried to put Mother of All
Bailouts 2.0 on the table. All but 25 members swallowed.
The "world`s
greatest deliberative body"
had no time to hold
hearings, consider alternatives or study the history of
similar failed bailouts around the world. The Do
Something Now Or Else mob did, however, have time to
quadruple the volume of pages and stuff the urgent
emergency package with business-as-usual earmarks,
goodies and sweeteners.

John McCain and Barack Obama both
cited credit squeeze scare stories to rationalize the
rush. McCain decried:
"When small businesses and big businesses like Sonic [Drive-In burger]
franchisees can`t borrow . []t hurts the entire
community."
The rest of the story? Sonic clarified
that "during the past year GE Capital provided less than 10 percent of the
lending to its franchisees . in fact, many franchisees
maintain access to other diversified sources of
financing. Furthermore, Sonic has not received any
notification from GE Capital, either directly or
indirectly, that it will stop financing new loans to
Sonic franchisees."

Lost in all the End is Nigh frenzy
were dozens of local and regional headlines across the
country reporting that, in fact, the end is not nigh:
"Wall Street
Credit Crisis Rings Hollow on Main Street"
;
"No credit freeze
on Kern`s Main Street"
;
"Community banks aren`t yet feeling pinch of Wall Street meltdown";
"Farmers still
able to get banks` loans"
;
"Small town Main
Street doing better than Wall Street."

Instead, The
New York Times
obsessed about the drop in auto loan
approvals over the last year — from 83 percent in 2007
down to 63 percent. Catastrophe? No. If lenders are
finally realizing they shouldn`t give money to bad
risks, why is that a bad thing?

Getting credit is not a
constitutional right. Preserving home ownership should
not be a government imperative to be pursued at all
costs. The House faces a choice: Put the gun down and
give our economic problems the time they deserve to get
fixed — or fork over untold billions to a thoroughly
debunked Foxy Loxy and his den of wolves.

COPYRIGHT

CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC
.

Michelle Malkin [email
her] is author of

Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists,
Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores
.
Click

here
for Peter Brimelow`s review. Click

here
for Michelle Malkin`s website.
Michelle Malkin`s latest book is "
Unhinged:
Exposing Liberals Gone Wild.
"