September 25, 2008
The President's Speech: Expect a Deal Later Today
Posted by Gordon Smith

I listened to President Bush's speech, and I was surprised by the dire forecasts in this portion of the speech:

The government's top economic experts warn that, without immediate action by Congress, America could slip into a financial panic and a distressing scenario would unfold.

More banks could fail, including some in your community. The stock market would drop even more, which would reduce the value of your retirement account. The value of your home could plummet. Foreclosures would rise dramatically.

And if you own a business or a farm, you would find it harder and more expensive to get credit. More businesses would close their doors, and millions of Americans could lose their jobs.

Even if you have good credit history, it would be more difficult for you to get the loans you need to buy a car or send your children to college. And, ultimately, our country could experience a long and painful recession.

So what is going on here? Was this an attempt to put pressure on Congress to pass the revised Paulson Plan? The NYT says no:

The speech came after the White House, under pressure from Republican lawmakers, opened an aggressive effort to portray the financial rescue package as crucial not just to stabilize Wall Street but to protect the livelihoods of all Americans.

But the White House gave careful thought to the timing; aides to Mr. Bush said they did not want to appear to have the president forcing a solution on Congress.

So if not pressure, what? Giving a speech like this if a deal weren't already in the bag would be the height of irresponsibility. (Insert snide remark about Bush Administration's habitual irresponsibility.) I believe President Bush knows he has a deal, and it's coming Thursday.

Remember this line from the speech: "I've invited Senators McCain and Obama to join congressional leaders of both parties at the White House tomorrow to help speed our discussions toward a bipartisan bill." And then there is this from the NYT: "Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of the banking committee, said a deal could come together as early as Thursday." Even Nancy Pelosi was pleased with the speech.

The bickering is over. They are closing ranks. All signs point to an announcement at the White House, and the President's speech tonight was designed to make the case to the American people that this is a wise course of action. I am praying that they are right.

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