The current financial problem has been inflated into a looming crisis by politicians and analysts who have ignored basic concepts of problem solving.

First, identify the problem. Have they done that? Maybe, and maybe they’ve only identified the symptoms and the prognosis if things run their course without interference. It’s definitely true that they haven’t clearly described the problem to the public in general. If it is as bad as he said Wednesday night, President Bush’s 15-minute speech couldn’t possibly have been more than a cartoon rendering of the big picture.

This also means to identify all the various sub-problems within the problem. Grade them from “inconsequential” to “critical.”

Second, identify the causes of the problem and sub-problems. Have they done that? Maybe, but they certainly are not talking about all the factors in law and Congress that led to it. We have here in the blogosphere, but officials are very close-mouthed beyond the words “greed” and “excess compensation.”

Third, develop various alternative solutions for the critical sub-problems first, then the less critical, then on down the line. Each solution has to mesh with and enhance the others; they can’t be counter-productive within themselves. Simpler solutions are usually preferred over complex and disruptive solutions, given that both are expected to be equally effective. This step has obviously been ignored.

Fourth, produce a package that addresses all the sub-problems, the Big Problem, and all the factors that have caused each of them. That package must include a timetable of sorts to explain how each of the solutions will be applied in sequence to put out the most critical fires in the appropriate order. No such package exists.

This process takes time. The bigger the Big Problem, the more time needed, usually. Something as big as today’s Big Problem will take more than one week to resolve. Although I have my own idea about what some of the solutions should be, most of them have been expressed elsewhere on Redstate so I don't have to list them here. But if the negotiators in Congress and the White House are acting in good faith, the process I just described will produce effective solutions and positive results.

If they now follow this process, they will be in a position to explain what must be done, and more importantly why it must be done, to the American public. And there will then be stability in the markets that doesn’t depend on the possibility that a deal might be struck. The package itself will answer the questions.

They haven't done it yet, so they're in disarray.