After 9/11, our nation entered a period of shock. Laws were passed that should, perhaps, not have been passed. Bush was given a free hand to do more or less what he wished. The fallout from that can be seen just about everywhere -- foreign policy, the economy, social services, free speech, privacy, and many other fundamental values and services have suffered.
And yet, here we are, teetering on the brink of making the same mistake again. This time, the trigger was not terrorism, but the implosion of our financial system. We have returned to that same fragile state. Congress is unsure what to do, trapped between seeming confident and making sound, measured, decisions.
Bush, once again, has recommended rash measures that make sweeping changes to the way government functions. Under his plan the treasury department would be given unbelievable power to relieve companies of their debt without any oversight or repercussions. This plan has the potential to raise our national debt trillions of dollars and make the Treasury uncontrollable (imagine the difficulties faced by Guantanamo Bay lawsuits, but with both the government and big corporations on the defense).
Luckily, Democrats in Congress are holding firm. Despite what almost sound like threats from Paulson and Bernanke, legislation has not yet been rushed through. Both oversight and direct relief for beleaguered home-owners seem to be in the works. Perhaps the Democratic Party can learn from their mistakes.