Last updated: September 25, 2008 - 9:13am
Journalists, start your skepticism. In covering the proposed $700 billion bailout of Wall Street don't repeat the failed lapdog practices that so damaged our reputations in the rush to war in Iraq and the adoption of the Patriot Act. Don't assume that Congress must act instantly, as so many news stories state as if it was an immutable fact. Don't assume there is a case just because officials say there is. The coverage of the Paulson plan focuses on the edges, on the details. The focus should be on the premise. And be skeptical of what gullible Congressional leaders, most of them up before the voters in a few weeks, say after being given a closed-door meeting on supposed horrors. The Administration has scared the markets and some key legislative leaders, but it has not laid out a coherent, specific and compelling need for this enormous proposal, which is the equivalent of a one-time 55 percent income tax surcharge. (Instead the money will be borrowed, so ask from whom and how this much can be raised so quickly if the credit markets are nearly seized up with fear.) Ask this question -- are the credit markets really about to seize up? If the problem is toxic mortgages then how come they are still being offered all over the Internet? How does the proposal help Joe and Mary Sixpack who can afford their current monthly payment, but not the increased interest rate that has been or soon will take effect? How will adding $700 billion to the national debt ease strains on the credit markets?
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