Try to wrap your mind around the fact that both sides of Congress acknowledge that this is a dire crisis and that something must be done — and yet the next vote won’t come until Thursday at the earliest. That’s a “sure loser,” for reasons InstaGlenn astutely articulates. To quote Michael Scherer, “This is no longer just a credit crisis. It is a credibility crisis.”

And what happens when they do reconvene? Like McArdle says, it’s not that they need 12 more votes. It’s that they need 12 more votes for a (momentarily) unpopular bill from House members facing reelection in competitive districts. How do you get those? By letting the market tank until your constituents beg for relief, I guess.

Exit quotation from Barnett: “We’re in uncharted territory here, and I don’t want to tacitly posit an economic competence that I lack. However, the many people I’ve spoken with who do understand economics and our financial system are gravely concerned – all of them. The only place you can find people who aren’t gravely concerned are on Capitol Hill and in the media, the two places in our society where people are paid to offer opinions on things they know nothing about. Suffice to say that if our banking and financial system doesn’t recover its footing, the overwhelming consensus is that we’re headed for very rough times.”