Sorry I haven't been posting much.  I'm in such a funk over this bailout.  It's like our politicians are trying deliberately to screw up the country before they hand the reins over to the next guy. Lots of stupid investors buy up pools of crappy mortgage loans and then can't get rid of them, so we pass a bill full of pork that gives tax breaks to companies that import rum or make archery sets for kids.  If that doesn't set off your logic alarm, then we're only half a step away from Brawndo - It's got what plants crave! In short, yeah we really are that gullible.

What's really got me down is that I'm losing faith in the process altogether, and all my hopes that were pinned on Obama are pretty much dying.  When either Obama or McCain take office in January, it's not going to matter much what sort of plans they laid in place for the economy while they were running.  Plans will have to be torn down and rebuilt from scratch.  There won't be a whole lot of choice involved.  Essential programs are essential programs and we're going to have to find new ways to fund things we probably can't do without.

To me, that was the most interesting question of the first debate.  I'm paraphrasing, but the debate moderator asked both Obama and McCain what they wouldn't be able to afford in their economic plans going forward.  If I were Obama, I would have leveled with the American people and told them about the magnitude of this folly.  I was looking for a candidate who would do that.  Instead, not only did Obama not level with us, but his vote was indicative of someone who didn't want to stick his neck out to tell institutions that make crappy investments that it's not the government's role to bail them out when they're left holding the bag.

It all comes down to this: We're being held hostage.  Financial institutions can play it loose and have us pick up the tab when it comes due.  The bailout should offend anyone who pays their bills responsibly, or who believes that we ought not to reward failure at the expense of the successful.  Financial institutions can't just take the money out of your bank account - that would be too brazen.  Instead, they'll use their lobbying power to, in effect, enact a tax on you.  (They do that by making the government give them money and the government responds by raising taxes and/or cutting out the services you need.)  They'll also rob you of your wealth by ensuring that anything you've managed to save doesn't have the purchasing power it once did.  (If the dollar lost half its value overnight, tomorrow it would cost you double what it cost you to live today.  If it costs the ultra-rich twice as much to live, it's no big deal for them, but it completely screws you.)

This is why when the Obama campaign called me last week to ask me for more money (on top of the multiple $50 gifts I've been sending them over the past 18 months or so), I told them I was done giving.  Senator Obama voted for the bailout.  And that's a betrayal of trust.  He doesn't represent the middle class.  No one really does.  He'll still get my vote, but that doesn't mean anything in a blue state.  The one silver lining will be that I won't have my health benefits taxed as income, but that probably won't matter much given how much taxes will have to go up to pay for this mess.