Congress Gets an 'F' in Managing the Financial Crisis

Last Updated Sep 29, 2010 11:37 AM EDT

Congress Gets an FManaging a national crisis isn't all that different from managing a corporate crisis. In both cases, the goal is to instill a sense of confidence that the crisis is being effectively handled and will therefore go away sooner or later, as the case may be. The method for doing that is the Three Elements of Effective Crisis Management:
  1. Own up to the problem.
  2. Make things right.
  3. Let everyone move on.
We've seen some tough crises as of late, including Toyota's recall of millions of vehicles for sudden acceleration and BP's gulf oil spill. But even these pale in comparison to America's subprime mortgage and banking meltdown and the financial crisis that has since gripped the nation. If ever there was a time for Americans to know a crisis is being effectively managed, this is it.

And while the federal powers-that-be did manage to keep us from plunging into a global depression, since then, it's really been up to congress to drive legislation that will fix the housing mess, free up credit, create jobs, foster business growth, and generally create an air of certainty that what needs to be done is being done. In other words, to manage the crisis.
Not only has congress failed to do that, it's somehow managed to make matters far worse. In addition to high unemployment, slow growth, limited credit, and record housing foreclosures, now we've got a record federal deficit to worry about, too. Somehow, a short-term crisis has morphed into long-term uncertainty and fear about our nation's future.

For that, Congress gets an F in managing the financial crisis. But instead of just shooting from the hip, let's take a look at congress's performance in terms of the Three Elements of Effective Crisis Management. Just click the link below to see how congress stacked up:

CLICK for Congress's Grade on "Owning Up to the Problem" >