Saturday, October 25, 2008

Crises on Many Fronts

Bob Herbert captures the ditch Bush and the Republicans have driven us into:

The current economic downturn, combined with an anticipated surge in patients without health insurance, will only worsen what is already a crisis.

The nation’s financial system was all-but-overwhelmed by the mortgage crisis because none of the nation’s leaders paid serious enough attention to the widespread symptoms of what turned out to be a metastasizing disease.

A similar situation exists on a number of important fronts right now: the deteriorating national infrastructure, the woefully inadequate public school system, our self-defeating energy policies, health care. Symptoms of serious trouble are staring us in the face, but no one is mounting an adequate response.

When a new president takes office in January, the temptation will be to delay bold action on these fronts until the overall economic situation improves. That is the kind of mistake (like ignoring the housing and credit bubbles until it was too late or refusing to heed the pre-Katrina warnings in New Orleans) that opens the door to additional crises...

There are no good scenarios in the offing. The markets are in turmoil. Banks are being nationalized. The U.S. auto industry has the look of a jalopy with four flat tires.

The evidence of decline and decay is everywhere around us. There has never been a time since World War II when the nation was more in need of a presidential administration with a comprehensive vision and the ability to lead on several fronts at once.

October 25, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist

Crises on Many Fronts

The closer you look at the current economic crisis, the more harrowing it becomes.

The focus in the presidential campaign has been almost entirely on the struggles faced by the middle class — on families worried about their jobs, their mortgages, their retirement accounts and how to pay for college for their kids.

Each nauseating plunge in the Dow heightens their anxiety. Each company that goes under and each government report showing joblessness on the rise intensifies their fear.

No one knows how to quell the uncertainty. And no one is even talking about the poor.


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