Financial armageddon vs. election: priorities and confidence

My question will have three main focuses: politicians, Americans in general, and this board in particular.

Okay, here’s what I’m wondering: with the stock market plunging and threatening to plunge more, with credit close to vanishing completely, with millions of people teetering on the edge of becoming homeless or not getting paid for the foreseeable future because of the aforementioned credit problems, with major corporations about to turn people loose or go belly-up entirely with all the aforementioned problems, with the entire global economic system about to totally disintegrate and plunge billions of people into economic turmoil on an unprecedented level, most discussion, at least in GD, has been about… Sarah Palin and bear DNA.

(Yes, this may be - MAY BE - a bit overblown, but I wanted to exaggerate a tad to draw the contrast I’m seeing here. Plus, I’m trying to reflect the level of the urgency and fear I’m seeing from our leaders and experts via the media; take a look at a major newspaper or cable new channel to see RL examples of what I’m talking about above.)

True, the election will affect not only us and the rest of the free world, but the future of the economy as well. But it’s not for another month, and our financial doom is breathing down our necks NOW. It seems to me that there should be at least as many posts, if not tons more, in the thread discussing the bailout failure as there is in the “Is McCain forked yet?” thread - and that one is a ton older! Why isn’t every single GD reader talking about this at length and in detail, trying to read all they can and figure out the lay of the land? Shouldn’t Obama v. McCain wait until we’re not in immediate danger of an economic wasteland?

And it’s not just the folks on this board: the biggest names in economics and finance, not to mention our President and Congress, have been telling us everything I’ve just mentioned for a week now. Yet the House is taking the next two days off. No wonder so many conservatives seem suspicious that this whole thing is a ploy (not to mention their suspicion of government urgency, which I understand and share to a small degree). So in the end, a lot of it really depends on how seriously you take the warnings of President Bush, Warren Buffett, various economists, and the media.

So I’d like to ask you why you out there in Dopeland why you do not seem more concerned. Are you just hiding a lot of fear? Do you still have confidence things will work out somehow, thus freeing you to pay more attention to the election? Do recent polls, at least one of which show a big plunge in opposition to the bailout (now to 50-50) really reflect the general mood? Is Congress really taking this thing seriously? Can we really trust them to do something, and something that won’t cause this entire house of cards to crush us all?

Another question: How do we know who to trust?

Perhaps it’s that the consequences are too ghastly to contemplate? You wouldn’t be able to concentrate on anything if you were constantly worrying about it (as I am currently doing).

I sincerely apologize for not having enough interesting to say to satisfy the OP’s expections for more discussion on this subject. I’m not an economist, I don’t hold any bad mortgage paper (I don’t think my home mortgage was too bad a deal) and although I have a small position in the stock market via my 401(k), and it of course has lost some value this year, it will be some little time before I need to tap it.

As for Congress, I would say they are indeed taking the crisis seriously, enough to not be stampeded into making a decision right this instant about a complex deal that apparently makes sweeping changes to the financial system and will cost a significant chunk of this year’s GDP right from the git-go.

Anyway, it’s a panic. I suppose I could do a bit of hand-wringing in acknowledgement, but I’m not sure there’s much value in a bunch of panicky threads about how panicky everyone is.

Dows closing in on 300 up. Not so panicky after all.

The fact that we are where we are makes the upcoming election pretty freakin’ important no matter who you favor.

Don’t you think?

Well not exactly. If the election is important, so is who you favor.

The fact we are where we are makes the election pretty freakin pointless. This situation was caused by The Dems and the Pubs. The House, the Senate and the Executive. The rich greedy bankers, and the stupid uniformed Hoi Polloi sheep. But every damn idiot is still pointing out stains on ties. It like two college teams each going into the showdown 0-11, talking shit like crazy. And inevitably,one of them will prevail, and is so damn deluded they are actually going to think they ‘won’ something. Blind partisanship, and spite to make ‘them’ look bad, are goal #1 for everybody

It is time for politicians to recognize the impact of populism. The masses are more in line with mortgage relief, which would actually deal with the problem. Most see the bailout as a giveaway to the rich. In some threads ,dopers are saying screw the homeowners. let then default for not being as wise as they are . But if foreclosures are the problem, and everyone agrees that they are , then we should deal with them directly. Giving money to financial institutions will just delay the inevitable. and waste a few billion dollars. The homes will still be there waiting to take the banks down later. 700 billion is plenty to fix the problem. Then we deal with credit cards next. It can all be done.

Is the OP complaining because threads about this aren’t being spewed all over the place? The one started after the bill fail grew to five pages very quickly. There is really one main topic, and so only a few threads on it seems appropriate.

No, I’m saying that there seemed to be a gap in interest between the two topics based on post count, and number of threads (in that people seem to jump on the chance to create a new thread constantly for Presidential candidates but not an issue that could turn them out on the streets within a week), and I was trying to figure out if it was a reflection on how they see the issue.

I am average John/Jane Q. Everyman. I am in the median income range of wage earners. Should I be worried about my 401k losing value? What 401k? My stocks? What stocks? Should I be worried about the home I own losing value? I have never been able to buy a home. Not being able to make my new car payment? I drive a 10 year old car. How about not getting credit? I couldn’t possibly afford to take on any credit debt.

This bailout seems to me to be another incarnation of us working stiffs being saved by the “trickle down” that I have been waiting for since Reagan. I was far better off in 1980 than I am today. Nearly everything costs 5 or more times what it did then. My wages, however, have gone up $1.50 an hour.

Am I an unskilled worker? No. Do I lack experience in my field? No. Is this all anecdotal and do I have cites? Yes and no. Just life experience. Do I think we should bail out the banks and wall street which are threatening us with the Great Depression Part Deux if we don’t. HELL no!

That’s all, folks.

I know you were asked in another thread what you do for a living to make this possible, I never saw an answer. Would you be so kind?

As for me, I am focusing on how I can profit from this mess. For every financial crisis, there are just as many who make money as those who lose it. If I can’t get the discussion I need here, I’ll use this www thing to find it somewhere else.

To be fair, I’m distractible. When I get online, I’m doing relatively well if I’m reading rants & then myself ranting about political characters rather than stupid stuff in comic books.

But I’ve been very engaged in opposing the Paulson bailout for the last few days. Not here, where my posts would be buried under acres of “Teal Deer” (Too Long, Didn’t Read). But on my own tiny blog, on LJ, & in letters to my senators & congressman.

In general, though–I have no 401(k); I use a credit union; I’m not really that up on economics in any expert-level way; & to the degree I have opinions or understanding of all this, I sort of want the housing & finance markets to correct to rational levels anyway.

Sure. I have worked in pre-press in the printing industry since before there were computers. In 1980 I worked in a union shop in California for $11.10 an hour. Now I work in the Northwest for $12.60 an hour. In 1980, I was what was called at the time a paste-up artist - I took galleys of type from the highly skilled and well paid “typesetters” and composed them into their final form from which negatives were made and put together by highly skilled and well paid “strippers” which where then plated by “platemakers” for highly skilled and well paid “pressmen”.

Now, thanks to computers, the “typesetters” are now the pasteup artists, strippers, and platemakers and in some cases “pressmen” all rolled into one… for much less money. In other words, productivity in prepress for the printing industry has increased exponentially while the wage has reduced exponentially.

By the way, as I said my job is not an “unskilled” one.

Me too. I figure this is a great buying opportunity. Not financial stocks, but a lot of others which have lost value from the panic.

As for what it matters, I’m sure there were plenty of people in 1929 who thought the crash wouldn’t affect them, and figured out that the proverbial broker jumping out the window just got what he deserved. They weren’t laughing as much a few years later. I own a teeny bit on my mortgage, and have no other debt. But if I worked for a company that depended on borrowing to finance inventory or slack periods, I might be screwed. Luckily, my company is sitting on a a pile of cash.

I think this is related:
There are many other reasons to be concerned about the present state of the USA besides finance policy.

By the way, I’m pretty sure the financial industry knows this bailout is in the bag, even with the pretense of voting the it down once for show. They are ordering printing to beat the band… half again more than usual. At least I know my job is secure. Pardon the hijack - carry on.

I think part of it is that there is not much that I can do about the economy, but I can vote for the president.

My only fear is that I could lose my job if the failing economy forces my employer to start laying people off. I work for a very large international corporation, but as a temp, and they’ve put off bringing me on permanent a couple of times now because of the economy and there have been some layoffs. Other than that, I’m not really effected. I have no credit, I drive an 11 year old car, I don’t own my home (but my landlord does, no risk of it being foreclosed on), and I don’t have a 401K or any investments. I AM worried about inflation if we start having to print billions of dollars to bail out these lending institutions.