It seemed certain that the House would pass the bailout bill, but it almost didn’t happen. It took two tries.
Conservative House members cited their constituents, who demanded by a 9 to 1 margin (if not more) that the plan be rejected. The threat of another Great Depression didn’t faze them. Bailing out Wall Street bankers just made their blood boil! Would those same bankers bail them out if they fell behind in their mortgages? HA! Out on the street they would go! Ask anyone who’d been late with a credit card payment and in consequence seen their interest rate jump from 10 to 30%, and that with the bills deliberately arriving only days before payment was due……no, there was not much sympathy for big-time bankers. Tuesday (9/30/08) that bailout package went down by a 228 - 205 vote.
But the stock market immediately dropped 800 points. And small businesses back home were promptly frozen out of credit markets as banks simply stopped lending (even to entire states, like Schwarzenegger’s California). By Friday the Representatives were in a different mood and signed off on a slightly revised bill. Sixty of them had changed sides. The new vote was 263 yea, 177 nay.
The nature of the revisions is significant. The approved package took up 450 pages, whereas the initial proposal took up 3. You can read three pages; Representatives did and concluded the bill stunk. But do you seriously think these guys are going to read 450 pages? In a two day period? You just check to see that your own pet project is in there, and sign on the dotted line. Incredibly…..I mean, this is truly astounding, given that life or death for the entire worldwide financial system was purportedly at stake….Congresspersons loaded up that final bill with pork….a few million for this favored project, another few million for that one….same as they always do! Total added cost: $100 billion! For example, it was stipulated that from this point on, government subsidies for mental health disabilities were to be on par with those for physical disabilities. (though perhaps addressing mental disabilities isn't so dumb an idea in the wake of the current meltdown)
And they nearly came to blows blaming each other. On the very cusp of that first vote, the Democratic House Speaker nancy Pelosi launched into a bitter tirade blaming the entire mess on the Republicans and its President in particular. At that point it’s said that some of those Republicans who were prepared to vote “yes” dug in their heels out of sheer partisan spite and switched to “no.”
It is still to be seen if the world’s financial system begins to stabilize or if the woes have only begun. But either way, this past week has not been kind to human governments or those who put their confidence in them. Instead, its played into the Bible theme that Jehovah’s Witnesses have been advancing forever, that humans do not have the ability to rule themselves. They simply don’t have it, same as they don’t have the ability to fly or walk through walls. Avarice, arrogance, corruption, or just plain ineptness wins out every time.
JWs are the only major faith I know of that takes this position. All others assume, to a greater or lesser degree, that God is backing the present human system of governments. As if to illustrate, after that second vote the House Minority Leader John Boehner reminded all of the U.S. currency motto: in God we trust. “We’re going to need his help,” he warned his colleagues. (Privately he called the bill a "crap sandwich.") But the present system of worldwide rulership….scores of independent nations eternally pushing and shoving each other… isn’t God’s system. Rather, it finds its roots ages ago in rebellion against God’s own sovereignty….as shown way back there in the Adam and Eve account. After a sufficiently long (thousands of years) trial period during which the unsuitability of human rule makes itself blatantly clear, God intervenes with his own kingdom, which is really no more than a restoration of his original purpose. The “Lord’s prayer,” which everyone used to know, informs that his will is done only when his kingdom comes (as opposed to patching up disintegrating human governments):
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven Matt 6:10
Or as foreshadowed in Daniel 2:44:
In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.
Announcing this kingdom is what Jehovah’s Witnesses are all about. Lots of people….most people by far…don’t really want to hear it. But there are some who do, some who respond to the JW invitation to a Bible study, and some of those who….recognizing a message that is found nowhere else….attach themselves to the faith.