Friday Night Riffs

It looks as if the Bushies won one of their final battles. The inevitable battle over the Detroit bailout appears to be nearing an end game. Pelosiis saying that Congress will advance the failed automakers big bucks out of the $25 billion meant to finance green cars. This is a pyrrhic victory at best for the Republicans and the nation. Yeah, they won in the sense that they convinced everyone that survival trumped green but they lost in that there probably won’t be the cathartic event-AKA bankruptcy or some mirror image-that the auto companies really need. Here you go Barack. We dodged this bullet, now you get to do the heavy lifting in three or four months.

I was out and about this evening for a couple of parties and a stop at my local pub. All the places I visited were purveyors of food and drink and the crowds were impressive and the money among other things was flowing. What gives? I talked to a lot of people and the economy is way down the list of their concerns. Sure, they mentioned how terrible things seem to be but I didn’t get the impression they were being crimped one little bit.

This is in Phoenix, probably one of the harder hit regions in the country. I can’t figure out if this is denial or possibly a recession that is being very selective in terms of  who it clobbers. If the latter is the case then we have one hell of a social problem on our hands.

Word is that the Obama team is going to throw their weight behind Bush’s attempt to get Congress to release the rest of the TARP money. I may have missed it but I’m not quite sure what they want the money for all of a sudden. At any rate, given the history of that sad program I am not sure why Obama wants to get tied to it any sooner than necessary. Either something big has popped up that has to be taken care of or the Obama team is losing discipline. Distance from the current crisis when they have no control was the only sane approach. Bet that there is some bombshell coming down.

Finally, is it just me or has this week seemed peculiar to you? Lots of things going on-Detroit bailouts, a big speech by Bernanke, equity markets bouncing all over the place-yet there doesn’t seem to be any palpable feel to things. It’s eerie. Almost like that proverbial calm before the storm. Hopefully it’s exhaustion and folks are just starting to say what will be will be. But I get this sense that something is brewing and we may not like it very much.

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