What a week it's been financially for America. For that matter, what a last three weeks it's been! Some of the largest financial institutions in the United States have gone under, or merged with someone else, or been bought out by someone else. And, when the president decides to try to intervene, Congress shuts it down. And let's not forget that some states are actually having problems getting fuel to gas stations; of all things!

President Bush now has his lowest rating ever, at 26%. Hoping not to sound political, but we're in a major leadership crisis right now, and it's one of those times where I'm not really sure how he could be doing better at it. The one thing I know is that the blame game has to end, and the president and Congress need to get together to try to figure out what to do, because our financial problems don't only affect us, but the rest of the world as well.

Or does he, or they? It would seem that there's no clear cut answer to this one, as some economists believe a governmental bailout is the only way to stem the bad tide of things, and others believing it's an inappropriate use of the government's money. If the people who study this stuff are battling each other, then what makes us think that Congress or President Bush have the answers, no matter how many advisors they have?

Of course, the problems we're now having have a lot to do with some practices in the past. Sometimes, present leadership takes the fall for some practices that previous leaders put into play. I'm talking about the heads of these banks, the men who came up with these funny interest rates and mortgage loans, which put a lot of dollars into their pockets so they could retire comfortably, and then the status quo was maintained by leaders who followed these guys, over and over until we got to the leaders now, some of whom have lost their jobs over this fiasco.

Because, in the long run, new leaders don't get a pass when they walk into a situation they know is a bad deal and then don't do anything about it. And they knew about it; all of this was predicted by economists some years ago, because the worst thing deregulation led to was floating interest rates, which has led to many foreclosures and a weak housing market, and banks are foreclosing on houses that they can't sell, which invariably hurts them and has closed down a good number of them. Wow; who didn't see that coming?

I'm glad to live in New York state at this point in time. Our state didn't allow any of those kinds of loans, so we're not suffering the same type of financial mess that everyone else is. We're suffering in a different way, though, as it seems our budget is dependent upon the performance of Wall Street, from whom the state gets money because the Stock Exchange is in this state, and we're facing a major budget deficit. Frankly, our previous leaders seemed to have figured a lot of things out in advance, but missed that one.

"Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown"; that's from Henry IV by Shakespeare. It's kind of fitting at this moment in time. Someone really wants this job of president right now? Astounding!