Beware Politicians Bearing Gifts

A collapsed mine. A collapsed bridge. A collapsed market.

And folks are nervous, understandably.

Politicians are nervous too, predictably — nervous and desperate.

Like the environmentalists who say if coal mining's so dangerous, maybe depending on coal is too.

Or the legislators looking for higher taxes to pay for bridge repairs.

Or the politicians looking for bailouts for the mortgage industry because it's hurting now.

Knee-jerk politicians act this way. All the more remarkable when a president mired in lousy poll numbers does not.

President Bush could turn his back on coal mining, because it looks dangerous now.

Or the billions spent on our infrastructure, because it doesn't look like enough now.

Or prop up the still very strong overall mortgage market, because some players are hurting now.

He could take the easy route and go for bailouts, or handouts, or copouts.

But he is not.

Because in the heat of the moment he has taken the time to look at the economy. An economy where there's no shortage of infrastructure money, but apparently a big shortage in responsible ways to spend that money.

Where you don't respond to a mortgage meltdown when 96 percent of all mortgages are not melting down.

And where you recognize the dangers of mining coal, but see the dangers for this country if we simply drop coal.

Sometimes our politicians have a knack of running around like chickens without their heads. Refusing to see they're acting like chickens and they haven't used their heads.

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