As I write this, the bailout plan has failed in the House, and the Dow immediately took a nosedive. If certain sources are to believed, a great deal of Republican representatives voted "Nay" at the last minute simply because they took issue with Nancy Pelosi's speech. Who said five-year-olds couldn't serve in Congress?

There's a part of me that wants to believe that the doom forecasted if a bailout isn't reached is nothing more than a scare tactic. At the same time, I sure as hell don't want to lose my job, my house, etc. if they turn out to be right. I'm not much of a post-Keynesian economist, but at the same time, no one else I know is either (well, I did meet one guy in a bar who was, in fact, a post-Keynesian economist, but at any rate). So I'm getting a little worried about the fact that "popular sentiment" seems to be the sole reason why it has been so hard to reach some kind of agreement on a solution.

Look, I'm as wary of "Wall Street" (I use the dread quotes because at this point, Wall Street has become as much of a straw man as "The Terrorists", "The Jews", "The Man", etc) as the next guy. Certainly, the idea that such monumental stupidity can simply be wiped away by the Government strikes me as more than a little unfair. The question is: what happens if we do nothing, to say little of doing the wrong thing? Even the Treasury isn't sure if this thing is really going to work.

As I have followed the happenings of the crisis, I have come to the conclusion that a number of (*cough* Republican *cough*) congressmen decided that, in the wake of an election season that many have predicted will see a number of them lose their seats to Democrats, the only way to survive the blue tide was to strap on their everyman-waders and oppose "handouts to the fat-cats on Wall Street". No doubt a great number of these politicians' constituents have called them and told them they expect just such a stance from their elected officials, but it strikes me as more than a little ironic. I mean, doesn't it blow your mind that when you turn on the news you see Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Barney Frank bending over backwards to hand in legislation that the Bush Administration is practically begging for, veto-proof majority or none? What neat symmetry that suddenly an army of grey-faced old GOP hacks can suddenly align themselves against the one man who single-handedly torpedoed their job security in a way no other politician ever could and at the same time claim that it's the damned democrats who are trying to give away the farm to those "fat-cats on Wall Street", many of whom could be solidly counted on to vote "deregulate or die" GOP every other November? The mind reels from the vertigo of it all.

Let's not forget the recent timeline for this particular clusterfuck: noted former POW John McCain took a bold stance and "suspended his campaign" to, ahem, help solve the economic crisis", the attention devoted to which would mean he would be unable to debate Barack Obama. So during that suspension, in which he still ran ads, spoke at a major forum, gave interviews to all major networks, and allowed his band of flacks to continue spreading their disinformation campaign wherever anyone cared to hear it, a bailout was tentatively agreed to by both parties in the Senate, the House Dems, and somewhat begrudgingly, the House GOP. Apparently, McCain said little more than "know that I'm with you" to the House GOP, and here we are today, another agreement supposedly reached, the subsequent vote failed, and if you believe in nosediving line graphs, total economic armageddon that much closer to reality.

I really know next to nothing about the economy, but being a big fan of analogies, I see the bailout this way: Say you were a doctor, and you had a patient who smoked 3 packs a day his entire life. Unsurprisingly, he has near-terminal cancer. As a doctor, do you say "fuck off Joe Camel, you should have known those things would kill you", or do you operate and try to save his life, knowing that if you do, he's probably going to go right back to smoking?

Doctors have to take an oath swearing to "first do no harm". What oaths must our elected officials follow?