Capital Markets

Bailout Rejected by the House?

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The one body of government most hardwired to the American public just rejected the leadership of both major political parties, the president of the United States, his administration, the two contenders to his throne, and seemingly every talking head on cable television. The first tally was 228-205-1; but it looks like they're keeping the vote open long past the allotted time, and now it's at 226-207-1. "They're just going to hold it closed until they can get enough Yeah votes," CNN's floor reporter just said. That's the same maneuver they used to create a huge new Medicare/prescription drug entitlement. Democracy!

C-SPAN today has been more gruesome than watching David Cronenberg's Crash. Among the minute-by-minute horrors of crap economics, utterances of the phrase "inaction is not an option," and nausea-inducing bipartisanship, my favorite moment might have been when Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) quoted favorably, and without irony, Spiro fucking Agnew, as saying "the cost of our failure will far exceed the price of our progrees." Just one of scores of comments today that did not make any sense, at least not to me.

The Dow Jones tumbled down 650 points (more than 5 percent) right when the deal looked killed, but now it's around minus-450 for the day and heading northward, though in a herky-jerky way.

More importantly, if this vote is allowed to stand, 132 House Republicans and 94 Democrats will have, at least for a moment, slowed the rush to nationalization that has shot through Washington like Hoof in Mouth disease these past days and weeks. I'm as apocalyptic as the next guy, but I never did understand how a temporary illiquidity in the mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps markets required the biggest government intervention since Richard Nixon's disastrous wage and price controls.

UPDATE: Mistah bill, he dead.