On a national level, I'd say that time from tomorrow afternoon through Friday evening has the potential to be the most important hours in our country since September 11, 2001.*
First, I suspect that in that time frame, Congress will either pass or set the foundation for a $1Trillion bail-out. I'm not sure I've had anything to say about this on the blog, but even though I am more libertarian in my view of government, I believe that letting these institutions bite it would prove more harmful to the country than if the government stepped in. Sure, blame here can be levied equally to the industry and foolish home-buyers, but without the bail-out many people who have practiced fiscal responsibility throughout these times could be harmed in the process.
Even though we Generation Xers and Millenials have never witnessed the American economy in such dire straits, our nation's economy has tended to fluctuate like this every twenty years or so. Four years before I was born, the US economy was in the crapper to the extent that Nixon attempted to manhandle it into submission. He instituted price controls and eliminated our country's connection to the gold standard. While it temporarily worked, it helped create the inflationary struggles that we always associate the 1970's. Additionally, study American economic history throughout the 18th century until the Great Depression, and you'll understand that amount of fluctuation that accompanies our economic system.
I guess what I'm saying is that no matter how bad this gets, our country has seen worse [and more than just the Great Depression]. The congress will get this things passed, and historians will debate it for decades to come. My opinion: if this bail-out goes through, there will be ripples, but we'll be OK.
Second, even though McCain is trying to get it rescheduled, I'm assuming that the first Presidential debate will go off as planned Friday night. This has been a rough week for the McCain campaign (which I think is one of the reasons they decided to "take a break"), and some of the polls have him losing distance between Obama. Personally, I think the 9-point separation is a little suspect. I lean to believe those that still claim that the race is within the margin of error. Regardless, Obama definitely has the momentum and this is why this debate is critical.
I predicted earlier that McCain would be the better debater, and he needs to be more than ever. He doesn't need to dominate Friday night; a draw would be sufficient. But if he's not on his game and comes off as confused or uninformed, it could cement an Obama White House.
I think that by the end of the weekend, both the economic and political picture will be much clearer.
*True, the time I'm referencing is more than 24 hours, but it's the only way I could use the pop-culture tie-in.