Changing of the guard

By LaneReport.com Staff

A peaceful and efficient process is under way for the transition of one national administration to the next. As it has for more than two centuries, America prepares for a smooth change for its presidential office.

Despite a hard-fought campaign on both sides and deep divisions on policy positions, the transition moves forward without riots, bloodshed and chaos.
Every four years the American people and the world watch this transition, which is so unlike that in some countries. Both victor and loser have made conciliatory statements and promised cooperation for the good of the country.

Are our elections completely free of cheating and lingering ill will among some? Of course not; but those elements are exceptions rather than the rule. Average Americans are ready to support the winner of the presidency even if it is not their first choice. “Country first” is the axiom for most.

How else could a new president approach the defining issues of the day? From inauguration day forward, the new president is faced with an array of urgent issues that decidedly affect how Americans live and work every day. Arguably, the most exigent of these is the federal government’s “bail out” of the financial industry.

As originally proposed, this bail out was allegedly to salvage the banking industry from going under because of a wave of sub-prime home loans. The first proposal of $700 billion in taxpayer funds to these institutions grew almost overnight to more than $1 trillion. Next, other industries like Detroit’s auto manufacturers, the airlines and even the country’s mayors were lining up to ask for their own financial needs and outright wish lists.

Americans need several answers from the new president and Congress. First, they want to know where all this money is coming from, in light of the
country’s debt. According the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve, the United States owes $586 billion to Japan, $541 billion to China, $307 billion to Great Britain, $180 billion to OPEC nations, $148 billion to Caribbean banking centers and $74 billion to Russia, among many others.

Next, Americans need an explanation of why there is nothing in the bail-out proposal to correct the conditions causing this financial emergency in the first place. Despite warnings to Congress from the Bush administration about irresponsible practices on the part of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, Congress ignored the potential jeopardy to our country and even praised the two agencies’ practices. All the while, numerous members of Congress were accepting large campaign contributions from these two agencies.

There is little question that the failure occurred in Congress, not in the private market. Congressmen Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), the two committee chairmen supposedly overseeing these agencies, have a lot to answer for. So far, no one is accepting responsibility or paying the price for this mess. This current financial crisis, created by Congress, makes the Enron affair look like kindergarten stuff.

Whatever happened to the idea that individuals and companies pay their own debts or take the consequences? When was the decision made that taxpayers take on the burden for the debts of others? Why do we need a Treasury secretary as a czar with unfettered authority? These are questions for the new president, and we pray he will discover answers that will continue to protect individual liberty for all Americans – yes, even rich Americans.

When no one accepts responsibility or “pays the price” for such ineffable failure, it is merely an invitation for more such irresponsibility and costly failures. The new president has his agenda cut out for him, and it will take his undivided attention and effort to address this national financial emergency.
Mr. President, all the other campaign promises notwithstanding, America’s financial woes are the most critical of the day and deserve primary and immediate consideration. For the good of the country, concentrate your efforts here and Americans will support you. The guard has changed.

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