What's more important than understanding who played fast and loose over the past decade or so is who is continuing to play fast and loose, despite bailouts and a public mood that justifiably has turned surly. One would hope the proposal from Isakson and Conrad would allow for the commission to investigate ongoing behavior by the financial institutions -- particularly those who have taken our tax dollars to keep their organizations afloat.
It would be easy to say that when the nation is on the verge of, or perhaps already into, the modern definition of a depression, that playing "who shot John?" is of little use. But wait a minute. Wasn't there an outcry from Democrats and many Republicans who wanted a 9/11 commission to study how America reached the point that it could be so vulnerable and how the Bush administration handled the crisis? In this current instance, the "attack" is still ongoing. We need answers, and those holding out their hands for bailouts and assistance need to know that someone with the necessary resources and authority is looking at their every move.
It will take time, no matter how quickly President Obama claims, for any money from any stimulus package to truly impact the economy. During that time period, we could swiftly begin hauling people before a commission that has broad investigative authority and start to sort out those who are the swindlers versus those who are the morons.
We not only need this commission to understand how to avoid future mistakes, we need it to find out who should be slapped into a jail cell for betraying the trust of the public and destroying our economic foundation. Yes, there is plenty of blame for the general public in any investigation. But the average citizen is already feeling the heat -- lost jobs, lost homes and just plain fear.
Now it's time to get to the ones who really set this mess up. And, in the process, let them know that someone will continue to be watching them.
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