Patty Dineen

The view from here

Everything but the obvious — An apology

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After the failure of the bailout bill (the “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008”) to pass in the House yesterday there’s been lots of finger-pointing, predictions of disaster, and expressions of surprise.  People in finance and the media are shocked…shocked that representatives were so tuned in and responsive to their constituents’ anger.  Who knew that the public still had any influence on government?

Some commentators late in the day yesterday predicted that the public would see the light once they saw their IRA’s and investments evaporating and would repent and beg for another chance.  (In fact steep declines in the market started well before the vote even began.)  This morning some members of the media watching the early rises in stocks seemed disappointed and commented that continued decreases in the market would be better to help the public “come around.”

The most obvious and simple thing that could be done that would be most likely to help the public to “come around” would be for some key players to offer a public apology for their role in letting the economy get to this point.  One person with the guts and integrity to apologize could make a big difference; multiple apologies (a variety of players got us into this after all) would be far better.  Certainly, as the leader of the country, President Bush should admit mistakes and tell the public he is sorry for them.  Alan Greenspan; Christopher Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); all, or any, of the regulators who failed to regulate; any of the people who convinced other people to sign documents putting them into mortgages they couldn’t afford; and others could simply say they are sorry to have played their part in helping to create, or to allow, this mess.  It would be a huge and stunning step in the direction of turning this around.  So simple, but apparently so difficult to do that it is nearly unthinkable among the people most at fault.

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Written by dineenp

September 30, 2008 at 2:49 pm

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