Has America’s future come to this? Do we choose: Deal or No Deal?

Deal_or_no_deal_star_howie_mandel
R
ight now, I’d really like to hear from you.
    Click on the “Comment” link above and let us know: Deal or No Deal?
    Leaders in the White House and on Wall Street seem to be forcing this complex crisis into a choice that simple — and professionals who carefully watch American attitudes are trying to understand the strong forces at work throughout the country this week. So, please, share your thoughts with us.
    President Bush himself played TV game-show host Howie Mandel’s role, using national television and then an
historic summit of congressional leaders at the White House to push the country toward one decision: Deal.
    But No Deal appears to be the consensus forming around the colossal $700 billion bailout plan. The initial White House version of the Deal seemed to crumble at a chaotic, bipartisan, White House summit at which Republican congressional leaders torpedoed the original Deal. Nevertheless, top officials in D.C. are expected to work through the weekend crafting a new version of the Deal.

    So, what do you think? I’ve
been keeping score this week of who’s on which side in the Deal or
No Deal debate. So far, it looks like this:
    NO
DEAL: Taxpayers, who would foot the bill. The political
right, where people are calling the bailout plan a gross violation of free market
principles. The political left, where voices are arguing that the bailout will
only benefit the rich. Economists, who say there are much better
alternatives. For example, I’ve seen alternative plans from
the University of Chicago and from Yale University.
    DEAL:
Wall Street and big investors. The word “ecstatic” has been
used to describe their delirium over the bailout plan. The financial
markets were buoyed by the prospect of a taxpayer bailout, a sure indicator
that Wall Street and big investors would benefit from it.
    Whatever
happens—Deal or No Deal—there are deeper issues, as our guest, Dr.
Jerry Davis, discussed this week. One is that there’s more to
reform than just the financial sector—we need to update many institutions
to align with the new economic insecurities of today’s economy.
Another is the brain drain—where “the
most talented and experienced civil servants have moved on to the corporate
world.”

    This is the contemporary version of the military-industrial
complex that Eisenhower warned about in his 1961 farewell address
to the nation.

So,
where are you today?
    Do you say Deal or No Deal?

Please, click on the “Comment” link above, or if you prefer to drop us a quick Email,
you can do that as well. We’re also still inviting readers to sign up
for a couple of in-depth surveys Dr. Baker plans to conduct a little
later this fall. To take part in that effort, add your Email address to
the box in the upper left area of our Web site.

 

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