Not good enough

Published 10:00 pm Monday, September 29, 2008

“That’s not good enough.”

That’s the message we send today to the members of the U.S. House of Representatives who voted down the compromise $700 billion emergency rescue funding for the nation’s financial system.

In a vote described by many as “stunning,” the House members defeated the compromise bailout proposal – hammered out over the weekend – and sent the Dow Jones industrial plunging to its greatest one-day decline ever.

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Then, the House members adjourned until Thursday, presumably to hit the campaign trail back home. All of this, with no “plan B” offered to the American public, let alone the financial institutions at risk of collapse. To use an oft-quoted cliché, that’s becoming a part of the problem, not the solution.

We just don’t think that’s good enough.

Our congressional leaders were elected to do simply that – lead our country – and by defeating the only proposal on the table, without brining another solution or suggestion to the fore, they’re failing as leaders.

Sure, Americans as a whole didn’t like the proposed $700 billion bailout, but nobody wants to think about having to invest that much money in stabilizing a financial market which fell prey to its own greed and lack of oversight. But sometimes, we have to make sacrificing and tough decisions, for the good of the whole. Who was willing to do that on Monday, whcn more than two-thirds of the Republicans and 40 percent of the Democrats voted against the bill? And who is willing to offer another solution?

House Minority Leader John Boehner said it well after the vote: “Americans are angry, and so are my colleagues. They don’t want to have to vote for a bill like this. But I have concerns about what this means for the American people, what it means for our economy, and what it means for people’s jobs. I think that we need to renew our efforts to find a solution that Congress can support.”

When Catholic bishops get together to elect a new pope, they sequester themselves and discuss, pray and vote – and discuss, pray and vote again – until they reach their decision. It’s a system that has worked well for more than 2,000 years.

Perhaps Congress should take a clue from the Catholics; a good night or two locked into the House chambers, with only delivery food and no Blackberries at hand, might prompt those Republican and Democratic leaders to roll up their sleeves and get to work finding a solution, or at least a resolution that moves our economy in the right direction. It’s a simple process: debate, vote and, if the vote fails, debate and vote again. They key is working at it, until a solution is reached.

That would be good enough.

Because the rest of America has the “prayer” part of the equation handled.