From the Hill

“The House of Representatives is currently experiencing an
extraordinarily high amount of e-mail traffic. The Write Your
Representative function is therefore intermittently available. While we
realize communicating to your Members of Congress is critical, we
suggest attempting to do so at a later time, when demand is not so
high. System engineers are working to resolve this issue and we
appreciate your patience.”

Here is the story.  The associated explanation is this:

The House is limiting e-mails from the public to prevent its websites
from crashing due to the enormous amount of mail being submitted on the
financial bailout bill.

Gee, I wonder if all those people are for or against the bailout?

I thank Carrie Conko for the pointer.


It's the Ron Paul spammers.

Maybe at 60 it is best not to have a large majority of your savings in the stock market.

I emailed my congress man two bays before the bailout begging him to vote against it and listing many of the reasons Tabarrok (spelling), Kling, and Caplan have spelled out.

He didn't vote for it, but I don't think I was the only one writing him about it.

They only have to take a sample, like pollsters.

Of course, they are against a bailout. It is surprising that the elites in Washington underestimated the anger of the public about this.

John Dewey,

You said

My bet is that all those people are, like me, pretty damned scared right now. I don't really care about long term implications of any bailout.

I sympathize with your position. However, your fear is causing you to overlook the fact that government action substantially contributed to the current wreck. There is a very real possibility that the bailout could make things worse.

and john dewey, if you are already expecting to live 30 more years and your wife to live 40 more years, then the long term consequences are still relevant. say they stabilize your funds for now (which I don't think the bailout will do, btw) but kicks the can down the road for a crazy piece of s--t full blown economic meltdown when your 83. Wouldn't it be better to work a few extra years now, when you've still got it together, then to find yourself in the middle whirlwind when you don't have half the abilities you had when you were 55?

So much for the "People's House"; its SO convenient for those who
are trying to persuade members to "get on board" not to have to contend
with 10 to 1 emails urging non-supporting members of the bailout
to stand pat. Just when you thing politics cannot become more cynical,
it surprises you. But with the likes of Barney Frank in the mix, a
negative shock is never out of the question.

On age and investment, I'm a conservative ... your age in bonds. (Though these days, FDIC CDs look good for part of the "bond" portion.)

I wonder if the 'once-a-century exception' was the 60 year period ofextremely low-risk, high-growth, equity-premium time in the US.

Huh? Check out this graph. Does this look low-risk to anyone?

Joshua - that is very interesting. It would be better to plot the dow against something real like oil or gold rather than the government corrupted CPI.

I believe Joshua's graph does not account for dividends, and so does not indicate the total shareholder returns.

scott clark: "if you are already expecting to live 30 more years and your wife to live 40 more years, then the long term consequences are still relevant."

Long term consequences are irrelevant if you right wing idealogues refuse to compromise and cost me 50 to 80 percent my of the savings it took me a lifetime to build.

scott clark: "say they stabilize your funds for now (which I don't think the bailout will do, btw)"

Good for you. But I'm going to believe Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke when they say that action now is needed to save a deep and long recession.

scott clark: "Wouldn't it be better to work a few extra years now, when you've still got it together"

I've been working for 45 years, paying the goddamned taxes, serving my country during wartime, sacrificing to save up a nice nestegg. That's enough for me.

John – this bailout is meant to save the very people who caused the crises. Instead of the banks who made the bad loans going bankrupt, they will transfer the bad assets to the government, and all of us Americans will suffer. Our government doesn’t have 700 billion, so they have to either borrow it or print it. Either way, the value of the dollar will go down. So while your stocks may not fall in nominal terms, the real value of your stocks, along with all of your other dollar assets, will fall. When gas costs $8 a gallon in 2 years, and milk costs $10 a gallon, it will be because the government destroyed the value of the dollar due to this bailout. The government has launched this massive propaganda campaign to convince us all that saving Wall Street is necessary to save the economy. Please do not fall for their nonsense. This bailout is a transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich through inflation. I recommend you invest in commodities and foreign assets to save the purchasing power of your wealth.

Andrew: "It is unlikely your stocks won't come back. If you plan to live 10 years you should do quite well."

How would you possibly know that? How can you be certain we won't have a post-1929 market when the DOW didn't recover for 25 years? How can you be certain we won't have a post-1973 market when the DOW didn't recover for 10 years?

It's different now, right? Damned right it's different. IMO, it's much more scary than were the 1970's.

John, you admittedly don't care about the long term implications of the bailout. So, why should anyone younger than you then give a shit about your situation, if you are so dismissive of ours?

This Paulson plan that you are hoping will pass isn't any kind of plan at all. It's a blank check in order to throw whatever they can at the wall and see what sticks. Have you not noted the incompetence that our government exhibits when given a blank check?

Are you suggesting that spending > $1 trillion dollars will do nothing to kill the dollar? And that this has nothing to do with commodity prices? Have you been paying attention these last few years?

"If you oh so smart punks succeed in getting the Republicans to abandon compromise, I fear that most of what I worked my life for will be wiped out. There is no long term if it all evaporates in the short term hard line of inflexible ideology."

So I am a punk because I am conerned about my 5,3 and 1 year old kids having to pay higher taxes to fund your retirement shennanigans? Your generation is already burdening the youth with a dying ponzi scheme know as Medicare, SS. You worked your whole life supporting a corrupt regime and building a unstable economic system and now your mad because we don't want a ponzi scheme economy for our children?

You fought in a war? wow thanks for saving me from the rampaging vietmanese armies and the communist? Oh wait your now trying to make our country that was a pretty immoral war. Maybe if you hadn't been so gullible and sent off to a phony war you could have been here earning some more money. Withdraw your funds now and buy physical silver and gold if your worried about losing your money in stocks....don't delay the silver bullion is all gone, you can only buy coins at the stores now....bullion is unavailable. I wonder who bought it?

The same people who believe the government's CPI data is legit and have been telling us how low inflation is the last 8 years are the ones who said there were no big economic problems in this country and that "the fundamentals are strong".

If you think inflation hasn't been a problem in spite of 10% annual increases in health, education, government spending, houses, food and energy...then you lose all credibility. adjusting the index downwards for the old steak to catfood substitution does not represent a constant standard of living. Adjusting the index downward for hedonic estimates of the benefits of high tech fuel injection systems and more square inches on the dummy box screen does not make up for the price of milk and college tripling.

gabe: "you were ripped off by these people and yet you trust them now?"

I have no idea who you mean by "those people". How was I ripped off? The fund managers I've entrusted with my money have done well for me. They are not the ones who have wrecked the U.S. banking system.

I do believe it is the responsibility of the Secretary of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board to ensure our financial system does not fail. I don't really trust them, but I don't see how I have any choice right now. I want Congress to give them the tools they need.

I do trust the editors of the Wall Street Journal. When they tell me that legislation is needed right now, and that the Paulson plan should be passed, I believe them.

David Gergen and William Buckley?

What the hell did they have in common?

The representatives they interviewed on the news said it was 10 to 1 against the bailout. Also every rep in a contested district voted against it.

"David Gergen and William Buckley?"

"What the hell did they have in common?"

They are/were bigwig establishment conservatives.
Buckley was was the cheese at National Review.

David Gergen was a bigwig establishment conservative. Even if he isn't a household name today his weekly columns were some of the most consistent republican columns in any of the major news weeklies(Time,Newsweek,U.S. News & World Report). He is now editor-at-large for U.S. News & World Report and a Senior Political Analyst for CNN. In earlier years, he served as a White House advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton.

As a 13 year old in the 1980's who basically just read the major news magazines that my parents subscribed to, I thought they made a lot of sense and their opinions influenced me more than the leftist columnist did. This was around the same time that I thought Sam Malone had a lot of interesting things to say about life.


I usually agree with Thomas Sowell and other conservative economists, but not in their characterization of social security as a Ponizi scheme. To me, this explanation by the Social Security Administration makes more sense:

"There is a superficial analogy between pyramid or Ponzi schemes and pay-as-you-go insurance programs in that in both money from later participants goes to pay the benefits of earlier participants. But that is where the similarity ends. A pay-as-you-go system can be visualized as a simple pipeline, with money from current contributors coming in the front end and money to current beneficiaries paid out the back end. ... As long as the amount of money coming in the front end of the pipe maintains a rough balance with the money paid out, the system can continue forever. There is no unsustainable progression driving the mechanism of a pay-as-you-go pension system and so it is not a pyramid or Ponzi scheme."

Please note that the SSA is making this argument about Social Security only, and not about Medicare.

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