Congress doesn't get it. There are times you don't listen to Rush, Hannity, and even your constituents (especially when they are whipped into a frenzy by the aforementioned talk show hosts and they know less about the details than you do). There are times when you show leadership. Today was one of those times, and they missed the boat.
While people may have been concerned about the nature of the bailout, I pity congress when people begin to blame them for job losses and decimated 401(k)s. To be sure, there were flaws in the bill. On any bill this size, there will be. It was rushed, and perhaps more time should have been allowed for review and vetting of the bill.
The focus now has to be on a better bill and better communication. Here's my six step formula for success:
1) Don't make promises in terms of timing for a new bill; this just sets up unrealistic expectations and messes with the market.
2) Don't align the bill with President Bush (or Nancy Pelosi, for that matter).
3) Don't give the Tresury Secretary cart blanche.
4) Don't trust leadership to deliver the votes.
5) Listen to the people and address their key concerns.
6) Explain how this crisis will soon impact everyone's pocketbooks in ways much more significant than a tax increase.
The downside of allowing this economy and our banking infrastructure to slide further is tremendous. The downside on this bill -- while potentially large -- is unknown and frankly far in the future. Congress needs to do something. History will not look kindly upon them if they do not get their act together soon.
Perhaps more information will emerge in days to come that will change my mind about the need for action -- I certainly am not a fan of rushed decision making except when absolutely necessary, and I hope congress is right and I am wrong in this instance. That said, I certainly hope that Congress is hard at work in the meantime to come up with a new bill and that investors in our momentum driven market hold together until then.
P.S. Leading the charge for classless communication on this effort was our own Rep. Paul Broun. While some of his points may be valid, his graphic imagery strikes one as anything but classy. I'm so glad my own representative is unwilling to eat cow feces (yes, you have to read it to believe it).