Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Politics, Calendars & Economics
So, now we have to wait until Thursday to see if a new revised “bailout” bill will be passed by the House of Representatives. I was watching TV news on Monday when the bailout bill failed to receive a majority of votes and went down to defeat. But then to my surprise, members of congress came before the TV cameras and said they could not get to this bailout bill until Thursday because of the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. For those of you who are not aware of this, the Jewish calendar or Hebrew Calendar (5768) started a few years before the Georgian Calendar (2008) that most of us use. In fact, it started a few thousand years before the calendar we use today. This calendar is a solar lunar calendar and as a result of this, the Jewish New Year comes on a different day each year as it relates to the Georgian Calendar most of the world uses. So, perhaps you can understand my surprise when those members of congress gave as their excuse for not getting back to work the Jewish New Year holiday.
To understand where I am coming from, you have to place yourself in the mind of a Jew. That means, you are very much aware of all the misconceptions held by non-Jews about Jews. One of the biggest is that Jews control all the money. If you have never heard this, great. But, I am sure there are more than a few people out there that have heard someone say this or they read it. Second, that the Jews control all the political power. Another thing that is not true.
But when Barney Frank and his fellow Democrats got in front of the TV camera and said, “we’re out here until Thursday because of the Jewish holiday, I could not believe my ears. Fine. Take off for the Jewish holiday, but do not tell everyone that this bailout bill is being held up until Thursday because a few members of congress are Jewish. This bill could pass without a single Jewish member of congress being present. But, the impression it gave me was something else.
As I said, when you are Jewish, you carry a lot of history on your back. Some of it is good and some of it is bad. At 65, this is the first time in my life that I can remember members of congress coming before the TV cameras and saying a bill will have to wait because of a Jewish holiday.
Now for a word why this bill did not pass. Politics.
I have no doubt about the urgency of this bill to help the economy and I mean the whole economy, not just Wall Street. But, unless a new understanding of the importance of regulation and oversight is found in congress, we will be traveling this road again. The lessons that were learned in the 1930’s unfortunately will have to be learned again. Perhaps we should have a National holiday where we go to our place of worship and read every year the history of what happens to our economy when we throw regulation and oversight out the window. I am not suggesting a state religion, but since so many of us worship money, perhaps it would not be a bad idea if we set aside a day to remember how we got to this terrible place economically.
Tomorrow night is the vice presidential debate, and I hope everyone that can watch this debate will watch and listen to this debate. At 72, McCain would be the oldest president to be elected to a first term of office. The position of vice president is much like the position of the backup quarterback in the NFL. The backup stands with a clipboard in his hands and watches the game. But, when the starting quarterback goes down and doesn’t get up, the backup grabs his helmet and runs out onto the field. The backup on a good team makes almost a seamless transition. They don’t drop the ball. When you watch the debate tomorrow night, think about that person stepping in and taking over the position of the President of the United States. That is why we have backup quarterbacks and vice presidents. Think about this one.