‘Bailout’ vs. ‘rescue’

This is weird. I knew I liked the way both Obama and McCain think in a lot of ways — that’s why we endorsed both of them in January. But I didn’t know I was synched with them to this degree…

I wrote, for tomorrow’s paper, an editorial on the House’s appalling failure on Monday. As I did so, I made a conscious decision to refer to the rejected plan as a "rescue," not a "bailout." I hadn’t done that before. It’s just that in the process of thinking through what ought to happen, it occurred to me that whatever the Congress eventually passes, it’s no good if it’s just a "bailout;" it needs to be a rescue.

After I was done with the piece, I checked the wires to see what the presidential candidates had said since earlier this morning. Way down in the AP roundup story, I found this quote:

"The first thing I would do is say, ‘Let’s not call it a bailout. Let’s call it a rescue," McCain told CNN. He said "Americans are frightened right now" and political leaders must give them an immediate solution and a longer-term approach to the problem.

Then I saw this separate story:

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Tuesday called for Americans to get behind attempts to salvage a $700 billion rescue plan for the financial sector, saying that if Wall Street fails ordinary people will also be hurt.

"This is no longer just a Wall Street crisis. It’s an American crisis, and it’s the American economy that needs this rescue plan," Obama told about 12,000 people at a rally at the University of Nevada at Reno.

Obama said Congress should put aside politics — he didn’t mention GOP rival John McCain by name during his remarks — and should act on the legislation quickly.

"To the Democrats and Republicans who opposed this plan yesterday, I say: Step up to the plate and do what’s right for this country," he said. "And to all Americans, I say this: If I am president of the United States, this rescue plan will not be the end of what we do to strengthen this economy. It will only be the beginning."

You’ll notice that not just Obama, but the AP, was using the new official word.

So it looks like everybody got the memo. Except there was no memo. This is the kind of thing that makes disaffected people think the media — and political leaders, who after all communicate through the media — are conspiring. But it just happens.

21 thoughts on “‘Bailout’ vs. ‘rescue’

  1. Brad Warthen

    Speaking of soothing words, you know what would help my jangling nerves just a bit? I don’t know whether you followed that first link above, but if you did, you’ll see that the running slug (news jargon for the name of the story) on its lead story on the crisis each day is "Financial Meltdown."

    Talk about your negative vibes.

    Strangely, though — and I think I noted this on a previous post — AP has been using more lurid language lately than newspapers. That’s not its traditional approach.

  2. Lee Muller

    This plan was both a rescue for some holding mortgages, for a lot of speculators, and a supply of golden parachutes for executives who ran these banks into the ground and now want to bail out with a lot of cash.
    It was also a COVER UP for the Congressmen and women who created this mess, and received lots of “donations” from the executives they enriched.

  3. Doug Ross

    So do you agree with McCain who believes the current situation is the biggest financial crisis of our lifetime?

  4. Lee Muller

    No, I don’t.
    The way the Democrats and their “bi-partisan” pals are trying to sugar coat it with mountains of cash could make it more serious.
    A good percentage of the mortgages have already been absorbed by other banks at a discount. Let the market absorb the rest.
    This meltdown was a creation of liberal meddling, just as the S&L collapse was intentionally created by them at the behest of the commercial banks, who then swooped in and grabbed up assets for 10 cents on the dollar.
    We need to be sending Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives to jail, and seizing their bonuses, just like Enron. They lied, overstating their profits by $6.9 BILIION, to get those bonuses.

  5. wtf

    There is not one scholar, economist, or intelligent individual who believes the cause is anything but the utter lack of regulation as fought for and championed by John McCain and the GOP.
    Isn’t funny that the banking system works perfectly fine for nearly 80 years, then when the first GOP Congress & President get together at the same time, the whole system collapses?
    But you do realize that if you arrested all of the Freddie/Fannie exec’s that there would be no one left to run McCain’s campaign don’t you?
    Aquiles Suarez, listed as an economic adviser to the McCain campaign in a July 2007 McCain press release, was formerly the director of government and industry relations for Fannie Mae.
    And other current McCain campaign staffers were the lobbyists or Fannie & Freddie.
    According to the Senate Lobbying Database, the lobbying firm of Charlie Black, one of McCain’s top aides, made at least $820,000 working for Freddie Mac from 1999 to 2004. The McCain campaign’s vice-chair Wayne Berman and its congressional liaison John Green made $1.14 million working on behalf of Fannie Mae for lobbying firm Ogilvy Government Relations. Green made an additional $180,000 from Freddie Mac. Arther B. Culvahouse Jr., the VP vetter who helped John McCain select Sarah Palin, earned $80,000 from Fannie Mae in 2003 and 2004, while working for lobbying and law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP. In addition, Politico reports that at least 20 McCain fundraisers have lobbied for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, pocketing at least $12.3 million over the last nine years.
    For years McCain campaign manager Rick Davis was head of the Homeownership Alliance, a lobbying association that included Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac. Macorganization opposed congressional attempts at REGULATION of Fannie and Freddie.
    Today, Davis continues to collect $30,000 a month as a lobbyist and to this date has been paid over $2 million dollars by Freddi & Fannie.

  6. p.m.

    Wrong, WTF. Obama’s people have made a lot more money off Fannie and Freddie than McCain’s.
    And here’s your cause, from the New York Times.
    September 30, 1999
    Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending
    In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.
    The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets — including the New York metropolitan region — will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.
    Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.
    In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates — anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.
    ”Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990’s by reducing down payment requirements,” said Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae’s chairman and chief executive officer. ”Yet there remain too many borrowers whose credit is just a notch below what our underwriting has required who have been relegated to paying significantly higher mortgage rates in the so-called subprime market.”
    Demographic information on these borrowers is sketchy. But at least one study indicates that 18 percent of the loans in the subprime market went to black borrowers, compared to 5 per cent of loans in the conventional loan market.
    In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980’s.
    ”From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,” said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ”If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.”
    Under Fannie Mae’s pilot program, consumers who qualify can secure a mortgage with an interest rate one percentage point above that of a conventional, 30-year fixed rate mortgage of less than $240,000 — a rate that currently averages about 7.76 per cent. If the borrower makes his or her monthly payments on time for two years, the one percentage point premium is dropped.
    Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, does not lend money directly to consumers. Instead, it purchases loans that banks make on what is called the secondary market. By expanding the type of loans that it will buy, Fannie Mae is hoping to spur banks to make more loans to people with less-than-stellar credit ratings.

  7. bud

    P.M., I guess you’re suggesting with this repeat performance of the same article 9 year old article that everyone is exonerated everyone except Bill Clinton from any responsibility in this crisis. Why didn’t the GOP controlled congress step in to provide their constitutional duty to check the administration’s meddling? Oh, that’s right they were too interested in Bill Clinton’s sex life.

  8. Lee Muller

    Big Media is lined up behind the establishment , pushing for legislation they haven’t even read, much less reported the details.
    Brad Warthen fills the editorial page with opinions blasting those who stopped this bailout and cover up of the largest bank robbery in history, yet his paper has not printed a synopsis of the bill.
    That is so typical, and it is why America doesn’t trust news media and doesn’t buy print media.

  9. mac

    We can all sit here and engage in a pi–ing contest from now on about who’s fault it is. The fact is they’re all to blame. Never before has it been more evident that we desperately need a third, or maybe even a fourth political party is this country.
    And by the way Brad, as to your new name”rescue package”………where is Obama now with his “lipstick” comment?…..The “bailout” still looks like a pig, walks like a pig, grunts like a pig, and stinks like a pig, a very dirty one at that.
    I will send campaign donations to any politition who votes against this “pig” and I will actively campaign against any politician who votes for it……..and by the way, I’ve seen reports that the e-mails and letters and phone calls to politicians were running 10 to 1 against the bail out, some reports said as much as 100 to one against..so why is it that you and the rest of you think that you’re so much smarter than the other 90% of the people…I guess we’re all just a bunch of dumb ole country boys huh?

  10. p.m.

    No, bud, I’m not suggesting that the whole of this crisis can be laid at Bill Clinton’s feet. Not one person in Washington, or on the campaign trail, did enough to prevent it. Pelosi can’t pin this on Bush, because Bush pointed to a need for more regulation of Fannie and Freddie, and the Democrat-controlled House did nothing. And Bush can’t pin this on Pelosi, because he should have sung a much louder alarm long ago.
    This should, however, give you a much better idea how much the Clinton-Gore kind of prosperity, the good times that you have championed here with wide eyes, actually cost.
    There is no such thing as a free lunch.

  11. Lee Muller

    No, mac, they are not “all to blame”.
    We KNOW the individuals at FNMA and FMAC who lied about profits and voted bonuses to themselves.
    We KNOW the huge contributions they gave to Barney Frank, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Pelosi, Reid, James Clyburn and John Spratt.
    These creeps STOLE the money. They need to pay it back, they need to leave office, lose their jobs, the board members who cooked the books need to go to jail.

  12. p.m.

    So, mac, what’s your reasoning for wanting Congress not to pass what Brad has aptly termed a “rescue” plan?
    Do you not understand that the purpose of the plan is to keep the American economy, and thus the world’s economy, liquid?
    Did you know the bankruptcy of the Hard Rock Park at Myrtle Beach can partly be blamed on frozen credit?
    Do you have any idea how many small businesses depend on one loan after another the way farmers depend on loans to buy seed every year?
    Can you comprehend that bailing out the bigwigs isn’t really the focal point of the bill in Congress, but preventing a depression that rocks your world and mine?
    Back when way more than 90 percent of the people on Earth thought the world was flat, were the “dumb old country boys” right then, too?

  13. bud

    Okay p.m., that’s fair enough. I don’t think a finger pointing contest does us any good at this point since there seems to be plenty of blame to go around. Still, I trust the Democrats more to get us out of this. They don’t seem completely immersed in the anti-government mantra espoused endlessly by the far-right kool-aid drinkers. Private market excess is largely to blame for this and the government came up short in it’s oversight roll.

  14. Lee Muller

    Democrats created this mess, and Democrats stole the bulk of the money. Their primary interest is a coverup and no hearings or indictments until after the election.
    When someone sets your house on fire, you don’t call the arsonist to help you put it out.

  15. mac

    “YES”!!! Lee, they are all to blame, with few exeptions. What have we accomplished by writing and reading these blogs this morning…..Absolutely nothing…….the Democrats still blame the Republicans and the Republicans still blame the Democrats, and neither side is going to budge.Until we have a legitimate third party, nothing is going to change. We can blog about it till Hades freezes over,

  16. Karen McLeod

    I’m concerned that they are talking about changing the way the accounting is done so that all this bad debt ‘disappears’. Has someone given them a pressure cooker to cook all those books in?

  17. Lee Muller

    Well, let’s put everyone who is actually to blame for the looting of these banks in jail, starting with Obama’s economic advisor, Harold Raines.
    America needs public hearings before the election.

  18. Lee Muller

    Parliamentary systems are unstable.
    They would remove a creep like Clinton or Obama more quickly, without impeachment.
    All we need is to follow the Constitution, and elminate all programs not named in the Constitution.
    We need some Constitutional additions, to make each bill deal with one subject, be published a week before any vote, and each change to be published 24 hours before any vote.
    We need term limits.
    If Congress and the Senate are not going to remove federal judges, the people need a direct means of recall.
    We need stricter voter registration to stop the rampant fraud, mostly by Democrats.

  19. Chuck Blakeman

    Why We Should Break Up Companies, Not Just Bail Them Out
    Everyone is talking about whether we should bail out the mega-corporations and if so, what kind of constraints should be put on the use of that bailout money.
    None of the of the solutions I’ve heard fix or even address the problem.
    The problem is that the Federal Government has not followed a fundamental business principle – don’t let any one customer become so big that losing it threatens the survival of your company (or in this case, your nation). No responsible company lets this happen, but the federal government has never thought to even address it.
    A simple but very profound change to the Anti-Trust laws would solve this problem going forward. The Federal Government should institute a new rule – if a company is so large or central to the economy that its demise would threaten the economic security of our nation, it must be broken up.
    The problem isn’t that companies have acted greedily, stupidly, with incompetence or just had plain bad luck. The problem is that when some companies act this way or are hit with bad luck, they threaten the security of our nation. The smaller ones just go out of business, as a reminder to others to keep their house in order and don’t overextend themselves.
    Our present knee jerk response is to bail out these big, greedy, stupid or unlucky companies and just move on. The only signal this throws is for smaller companies to become as big as possible as fast as possible without regard to greed, stupidity, or their own future, so that when they get caught thinking badly or with their hand in the cookie jar, the government will save them.
    Any bailout we think is necessary right now should be tied directly to the breakup of these companies so they can never again threaten our national security, and as such, would never again require another bailout. Greed, stupidity and serendipity would take their victims and the rest of us could keep on going.
    Some will say this is over-regulation of business by government – a form of socialism. “Let the free market determine how big a company gets.” (Hint: we don’t have a Free Market or we wouldn’t be talking bailouts.)
    One of the basic purposes of government is to ensure the security of the nation. Making sure our economy is never again taken to the brink by the greed or stupidity of a few big companies is well within the purview of government.
    Socialism is redistribution of wealth – bailing out individuals or companies that were greedy, stupid, incompetent or unlucky. If we don’t tie these bailouts to the breakup of these behemoths, it’s the corporate version of the Great Society all over again. We found out welfare didn’t work then, but apparently we’re going to have to learn that lesson all over again.

Comments are closed.