As anyone who was paying attention knows, the crisis on Wall Street pushed aside the presidential election in news coverage last week — for only the second time this year, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, which reports:
The Wall Street
meltdown captured more media attention than the presidential campaign last week,
and the crisis re-directed the campaign narrative toward a focus on economic
issues, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.
For only the second
time this year, another event eclipsed the campaign as the top story. Market
woes led the press agenda for the week of Sept. 15-21, filling 37% of the
newshole. Additionally, the state of the economy became the leading campaign
narrative last week, accounting for 43% of the campaign newshole. The previous
week (Sept. 8-14), the economy only accounted for 4% of campaign
The sudden burst of
coverage of the economy marks only the second time since early June that the
issue has been a top weekly campaign theme. Indeed, last week was only the
fourth time that a policy issue has been the No. 1 storyline in general election
Why even I, in spite of my extreme reluctance, have been writing about it, which probably accounts for a slight dropoff in blog traffic the last few days. Mind you, it hasn’t dropped to anywhere near pre-Sarahmania levels, but it’s tapered slightly — 15,010 page views last week, compared to 15,128 the week before, and 15,981 the week before that. Before the day that the Palin choice was announced, 11,000 a week was about our speed here. The drop I speak of seems hardly worth mentioning, except that it matches my intuitive belief that we’re on the cusp of a significant drop, unless something more arresting to the attention of normal people occurs in the next few days. One can take only so much of intense back and forth between Bernanke and Paulson and Chris Dodd et al.
The financial crisis has folks scared. The cynic in me sees another Bush fear campaign to create the environment for expanding government power. The real clincher is the bailout provision that nixes any congressional oversight of the treasury secretary. That is pretty shocking. So what are we to believe? Is this a do or die crisis that requires immediate and urgent action? Or, is this just another Bush scheme based on lies and intimidation to grab power as he did in run up to the Iraq war? Either way a wrong decision could be disasterous.
It’s been fascinating to see the drive to get Congress to put the brakes on regarding this proposed plan coming both from the progressive side (as Bud expresses it, a feeling I share) and from the conservative side, via for example Newt Gingrich.
This situation goes to the issue of trust. Bush has demonstrated time and time again that he can’t be trusted. Now he asks for our trust again. I have no problem completely rejecting any claims Bush makes regarding foreign intervention. It’s laughable that Bush could ever fool people again. Yet this is different. The crisis does appear to be real, virtually all economists agree on that much. But how quickly to we need to act? Would a few days or a couple of weeks make that much difference? I dunno. The boy who cried wolf was right in the end. And look how that turned out. Still, my instincts tell me we shouldn’t accept this plan “clean” as the administration asks. It just gives away too much power to an unelected official. If only we had a president we could trust.
The AIG bail-out was actually a loan that will be repaid over two years to the US Treasury at 8.5% interest. That isn’t giving it away. In contrast, the bank bail-out is not a loan. It is a gift to erase bad business decisions from the banks books. By my calculation, that means over 3.1 million bad loans ($225K avg loss per mortgage) above and beyond normal bank reserves. And the $225K avg is amount lost. Remember, the house and land is still there. If there was that poor of management and directors at these banks, we should insist on new leadership, a regulatory agency and applicable laws, and a resale of foreclosed assets plan all in place before releasing one dime.
Bud, I don’t like saying it, but I’m just as distrustful of this as you are. This administration has so frequently used fear to cover a power grab, that when I saw that these decisions were not subject to review, I became extremely distrustful. My immediate reaction was, “what are these people trying to do now?” I’d like to think that the motivation is to save the economy, but I can no longer trust the leadership of this country. Wish I could.
Well,uh,for what it’s worth……
There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Folks, the consensus from across the board has been “Hey, wait a minute…” I’ve been meaning to post something about that, and will try to do so before I leave today.
Funny thing, though — I would think bud and others on the Democratic side would WELCOME a gigantic shift in the national conversation toward talking about the economy. bud and I have gone back and forth about this repeatedly in the past, him saying “It’s the economy, stupid,” and me saying that what a presidential campaign should be about more than anything else is foreign policy.
For the moment, bud seems to have his way, with even econophobes like ME talking about that turf…
As of today, still 2,200,000 electric meters without power in Texas.