I listen to all this talk in the media about the failure of the bailout in the House Monday — what happened? Where did it go wrong? Why didn’t it pass? They’re running around pointing fingers — saying it was the Democrats, it was the Republicans, it was the White House — and nobody has a clue of what really happened and who made it happen.
They should have asked my wife, Colleen. That night she put her finger on it, saying that she –and millions of angry Americans who were dead-set against bailing out the very people who caused this mess — were the ones who killed the measure.
Congress was deluged by a flood of phone calls and e-mails all warning that Americans were violently opposed to the bailout and would exact punishment at the polls next month from members who voted for it. The people spoke loud and clear, and their voices were heard on Capitol Hill.
As Colleen said to me, it just may be that we’re smarter than those people in Washington and Wall Street who think we’re a bunch of ninnies who they can con whenever they feel like it. We get it and we understand it.
They forgot what Abraham Lincoln advised when he said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all of the time.”
This was one of the times they tried to fool all of us. It didn’t work. Back to the drawing boards.
We looked at it and we saw fear-mongering — attempts to panic us into believing that the banks had no money to lend, and credit was dried up and loans were almost impossible to get — all being peddled from the White House, the Treasury and the Fed, and all the way down to the House and Senate, Wall Street and much of the media.
We knew that was untrue because our daughter, Ashley, had just qualified and easily obtained a mortgage on a $360,000 townhouse from a small local bank. The bank had foreclosed on the house and was stuck with a defaulted mortgage of $560,000. Ashley, who is 25 and a schoolteacher, got the townhouse for $200,000 under what the bank held in bad paper.
Home sales in California in August were up 56 percent over August a year ago. Why? Because now is a good time to get in. There are all kinds of bargains available. Now there are possibilities of making a profit on investments. The market was up Tuesday. Why? Because it was a good time to get in. Maybe America just got it right.
Monday the market went down 6.7 percent, and it was panic time. Back in 1987, when my dad was president, the market dropped 22.6 percent — a 508-point drop in one day — it was the largest single drop in the history of the market.
Did President Reagan panic? Were there calls for bailouts? No. Instead, my dad simply said hold the course — what goes down must in fact go up. He made sure that there was no panic. By remaining calm and steady he kept the nation and the market calm, and what happened? Since 1987, the market has been up as high as almost 12,000 points. Now it’s down to a little over 10,000. In 1987, the market dropped all the way down to about 1786 points. And we didn’t panic.
What’s going on now in Washington is a panic-driven attempt to cope with a temporary problem. We seem to have forgotten the old adage about the foolishness of acting in haste leading to repenting in leisure.