I just learned that the Economic
Rescue Package, a.k.a. “The Bailout,” was rejected by the House, and I am quite
This is not good news. There’s a
saying in politics that, in a crisis, it’s better to be strong and wrong than
weak and right. A bailout would have been strong. And I’m not at all convinced
it would have been wrong. In fact, I think it would have helped us all, not
only in the short term, but in the long term as well. I spelled out my
reasoning in my previous post about manufacturing and the bailout.
The question, of course, is
“Where do we go from here?”
The short answer on Monday,
September 29 around 2:00 p.m. Pacific, is nowhere. The Congress will be in
suspension Tuesday and Wednesday during the celebration of the Jewish holiday
revisited. (And this just in – The House will
reconvene on Thursday instead of going into recess as planned.)
In the mean time, the President will huddle
within his administration to discuss actions the executive branch can take
In the medium term, we can look forward
to a lot of legislation – particularly if Sen. Obama is elected, as his party
will most certainly control both houses of Congress, which will make it easier
to get laws passed. But even if Sen. McCain wins, we can anticipate tougher
regulations governing many aspects of the financial system.
It may be harder to get a loan…
or easier. We just don’t know.
As for a picture of what the long
term might look like, I recommend an interesting Thomas Friedman column in
Sunday’s New York Times on how manufacturing could green the bailout.
Here’s a quote that sums up Friedman’s
main theme: “We don’t just need a bailout. We need a buildup. We need to get
back to making stuff, based on real engineering not just financial engineering.”
He goes on to argue that green
engineering could be the backbone of such a buildup, one that could engage the
full spectrum of U.S. business – with emphasis
on the manufacturing sector.
If we’re going to realize this
vision, or any viable vision, small and mid-sized manufacturers are going to
work harder than ever, particularly on identifying new opportunities to match existing
For now, I urge everyone who can to
send an e-mail to their representatives urging a second try to pass the bailout
and, equally important. they also need to get on TV and into the blogosphere to
explain that bringing order to financial markets is a good thing for us all.