The $700B Wall Street bailout bill collapsed for one principle reason: political leaders utterly failed to bring the American public (i.e. the shareholders) to the table. It's the voters' money, not Wall Street's. Congress needed to be reminded that it works for 300 million Americans, not a dozen Wall Street CEOs or a couple dozen highly paid "journalists."
It's long past time Americans got their government back. So here's the deal, Congress: do your damn job! Start by releasing Secretary Paulson's Powerpoint and all other "crisis" documents on the Internet. Then start with the committee process, holding open, public hearings, accepting testimony from a wide range of experts along with members of the general public. In particular, force Wall Street CEOs to testify, and have them explain their reckless behavior and why it's so essential that taxpayers bail them out. Include international experts from Sweden, Japan, and other countries that have faced financial crises....
....Get the CBO to score the various options, so taxpayers understand the budget impact. Allow amendments and hold open debate.
We may or may not need to inject capital into the American financial system. But surely we urgently need to inject more democracy into the political system, to recapitalize our government with an informed, energetically engaged American voting public. As Barack Obama reminds us, this election (and this government) is not about him, it's about us.
The Federal Reserve, Treasury, SEC, FDIC, and their central bank allies around the world are awesomely powerful instruments fully able to maintain liquidity. (Secretary Paulson begrudgingly admitted as much.) They need to do the jobs Congress and the American people long ago enabled them to do. Meanwhile, Congress, the public, and the current (or preferably future) president can soberly, openly, and deliberately consider what additional steps (if any) the U.S. Government should take.
Let's have this debate, now. Enough of the corrupt backroom deals and "emergency" taxpayer giveaways. Sure, democracy is messy. (Maybe David Broder won't like it.) But, damn it, we need maximum democracy, right now.
Are you listening, Congress? If you don't, we will vote all your sorry asses out of office on November 4th.