Thursday, September 25, 2008

Debate (maybe) cancelled

Yesterday afternoon, McCain "suspended his campaign" to focus on travelling back to Washington to help out with the negotiations over the proposed $700B bailout of the economy. Interesting wording, "suspended" - I've only heard that word used when candidates withdraw from the primary races. McCain immediately pulled all his advertising, cancelled his appearance on Letterman, and has asked to postpone Friday's debate.

I'm bummed, because presidential debates are like the superbowl for politicos. At, there's a good post that relates the two - and how people look forward to the debates for months... if they don't happen, you're going to feel a little disappointed.

Bush's speech last night actually went a long way toward convincing me that the bailout is necessary. Expensive, yes, but necessary. Because, we don't want the economy to grind to a halt. And, I am definitely convinced (and have been for awhile) that this is the biggest financial crisis since the great depression. In a sense, it is the culmination of American exceptionalism since the end of WWII, our lives of excess, our huge footprint on the greater world order... all of that is coming home to roost. And what a fitting end to the Bush presidency.

Houston/Galveston is still suffering the effects of Hurricane Ike, and will be for weeks and years to come. Galveston residents were allowed back to their homes for the first time since the storm yesterday, and many were shocked at what they found. Nashville and other places in the southeast have been in a gas crisis all week (caused by lack of supply from Houston) with massive shortages and prices topping $5/gal in places. None of this is making the news. Granted, the overall problems with the economy, and a close presidential race are arguably more important, but still, we've had a major natural disaster, and people are suffering (not unlike during the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005).

I'm heading to Shea tonight to see the Mets and Cubs. I'm excited. I have a feeling the playoffs are going to be great this year. It's cool and cloudy in new york tonight... definitely feels like pennant chase weather.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Congress has agreed tentatively to the $700B bailout, including strong oversight of the interventions and a $400K cap on executive salaries. Still waiting to see if this means McCain will show up in Mississippi tomorrow night or not.

To put the bailout in perspective, from MSNBC:

Just how big is the proposed Wall Street bailout? Let's look at how it compares to some other numbers...

-- $700 billion: proposed Wall St. bailout
-- $695.4 billion: GDP of Taiwan. If the bailout were a country it would be the 21st largest GDP, larger than most nations.
-- $653 billion: cost of Iraq war (so far)
-- $515.4 billion: proposed 2009 Pentagon budget
-- $315 billion: McCain's nuclear energy plan
-- $295 billion: amount Pentagon overspent original budgets by.
-- $150 billion: Obama's energy plan
-- $50-$65 billion: Obama's health care plan, per year
-- $59.2 billion: proposed 2009 U.S. education budget
-- $10 billion: McCain health care proposals, per year
-- $38 million: Hank Paulson's post-2004 salary as Chairman, CEO of Goldman Sachs
-- 16.1 million: number of median Ohio household incomes ($43,371 as of 2004) that would add up to the bailout -- or about THREE Ohios.

McCain has just confirmed he will attend the debate tonight.

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