It’s the economy, clearly

Most economists are saying that the earthquake that struck the United States’ financial markets hasn’t even hit us fully yet. It’s like a rumbling from deep in the earth’s core – it’s coming towards us, gaining velocity, and all that we know for sure is that there’s going to be a hell of a lot of trouble ahead.

There are a few things that we do know for sure, though. First and foremost, years of deregulation created a free-for-all environment that many lenders and Wall Street firms quickly took advantage of through financially dubious sub-prime loans and plain old rip-off adjustable rate mortgages. Exacerbating the problem were over-eager developers who over-built, and then lured in first-time homebuyers that for many, turned the American Dream into the Impossible Dream.

These lenders and developers who knowingly turned a fast buck now deserve to be included under the moniker of predatory lenders, and should be quickly regulated as such.

Who’s stepping in to rescue our economy, our pension plans and tens of thousands of jobs? Just as it was during the savings and loan scandal, it is the government and us taxpayers.

So here’s a few questions, as we spend the next few decades trying to recoup our taxpayer bailout:

Can we now officially end the discussion about shrinking government so much that you can “drown it in a bathtub?”

Can we now officially end the discussion about whether the free market should operate in an unfettered manner?

Can we now officially end the discussion on whether to continue to advocate for tax increment financing for more sprawl development, which would then stick taxpayers from both ends – tax subsidies to build private development on the front end, and then tax bailouts when scandals such as last week’s hit, on the back end?

And can we now officially end the discussion on legislation that would gut regulations, like those proposed year after year by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and routinely sponsored by pro-industry legislators?

Just asking.

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