Archive for September 21st, 2008

Just Because You Need To Do Something, Doesn’t Mean You Have To Do Just Anything

It’s very clear that the Bush administration is running the same playbook they ran on Iraq and FISA: Give us everything we want or the world will end OMG!!1!1!  It’s not as clear whether the Democrats have learned their lesson:

Congressional Democrats have promised to work with Treasury on the Paulson plan, but they’ve also signaled that they’ll want it to include or be conditioned on the passage of provisions it doesn’t have now — among them, greater oversight, foreclosure-prevention measures and a cap on the compensation for CEOs whose companies would be helped.

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that the government’s “first priority” must be to prevent a “global financial meltdown” — but that the president still has to make the case for the plan his administration has sent to Congress.

“While the Bush proposal raises some serious issues, we need to resolve them quickly. I am confident that, working together, we will,” Reid said. “Meanwhile, I call on the president to better explain to the public the severity of the threat all Americans face, and why he believes his approach is needed.”

A House Democratic leadership aide said House Democrats won’t be in a position to send the message the White House wants until it’s clear that they’ll get more oversight into the plan. “There are concerns about these unprecedented powers, and we just want more oversight, a congressional board or [Government Accountability Office] oversight authority,” the aide said. “We just need to strengthen the oversight.

Harry Reid is sounding awfully accommodating.  Yeah, there will be some oversight provisions, but it doesn’t really sound like he’s pushing for massive structural changes.  Will they even be able to get that?

Dean Baker, a liberal economist with the Center for Economic and Policy Research, said he has told congressional Democrats that Bush is the one who is in the delicate situation and would therefore be unlikely to veto whatever package Democrats send to him, as long as it gives Paulson some of what he needs.

“I can’t imagine Bush would veto something Democrats send him,” he said. “I just can’t believe he’s prepared to say, ‘If you don’t give me exactly what I want, the financial markets collapse.’ I can’t believe he’d do that.”

Um… why on earth not?

September 21st, 2008 at 09:18pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Politics,Republicans

The Republikons – Less Than Meets The Eye

Claire McCaskill on the free-market Republicans, by way of Bob Geiger:

“Here is the thing that is killing me — it is just killing me,” said the Missouri Senator. “All of the folks who have been screaming: Deregulation, get government off our backs, evil government off our backs, big bad government off our backs, deregulate, deregulate, deregulate — in the last 24 hours there has been — do you remember the transformer toys that went from an animal to a massive machine? We have transformers around here.”

“These massive deregulation advocates all of a sudden say: We have to enforce rules on Wall Street. We have to regulate.”

McCaskill also jumped on how GOP opportunists like McCain — who are also scurrying to cover for their records over the last two decades — suddenly think government has a role in protecting American taxpayers and now advocate a law-and-order approach with their Wall-Street benefactors.

“They are enforcing it today. Why wasn’t it enforced last week? Why weren’t the rules enforced the week before? Why weren’t the rules enforced last year?” asked McCaskill. “They didn’t want to. It is pretty simple. Nobody wanted to enforce the rules. Why not? Because the titans of Wall Street were in charge. The titans of Wall Street have had their way with this White House.”


“Do you think we are dumb? You can’t transform overnight from a big bad deregulator to I am now the cop on the beat; I’ll take care of Wall Street. It is not honest. Be principled,” she demanded of her colleagues across the aisle. “If you are a deregulator and you want to live with these consequences, you want to say to the American people: Hey, when we deregulate, this is the risk. This is the risk we are taking with your money.”

“If the law is on the books and this administration is not enforcing it, they need to explain to the American public why the taxpayers are now on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars because these guys didn’t think it was important to enforce the rules against their friends.”

Yeah; what she said.  The Republicans have absolutely zero credibility on this.

September 21st, 2008 at 03:13pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Politics,Republicans

Why We Can’t Let The Bush Administration Control The Bailout

Just a couple of reminders about how we got into this mess.

Dean Baker:

In March of 2007, after the first shock waves of the housing meltdown had already hit, the Associated Press reported Mr. Paulson’s view that the credit difficulties linked to the housing slump would be limited.

In August of last year, after the second round of financial shock waves disrupted markets worldwide, Paulson commented, “We have the strongest global economy I’ve seen in my business lifetime.”

Just last March he warmly endorsed a reduction in the capital requirements for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying “additional capital [invested in mortgages by Fannie and Freddie] will enable the companies to help more homeowners and will strengthen the underlying fundamentals of the mortgage market.”

At every point along the way, Secretary Paulson has failed to see the extent of the crisis resulting from the collapse of the housing bubble. This raises serious questions about his judgment. Reporters should be discussing Paulson’t track record in the context of this bailout proposal.

And Eliot Spitzer in February, speaking from beyond the political grave:

Predatory lending was widely understood to present a looming national crisis. This threat was so clear that as New York attorney general, I joined with colleagues in the other 49 states in attempting to fill the void left by the federal government. Individually, and together, state attorneys general of both parties brought litigation or entered into settlements with many subprime lenders that were engaged in predatory lending practices. Several state legislatures, including New York’s, enacted laws aimed at curbing such practices.

What did the Bush administration do in response? Did it reverse course and decide to take action to halt this burgeoning scourge? As Americans are now painfully aware, with hundreds of thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure and our markets reeling, the answer is a resounding no.

Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye.


Throughout our battles with the OCC and the banks, the mantra of the banks and their defenders was that efforts to curb predatory lending would deny access to credit to the very consumers the states were trying to protect. But the curbs we sought on predatory and unfair lending would have in no way jeopardized access to the legitimate credit market for appropriately priced loans. Instead, they would have stopped the scourge of predatory lending practices that have resulted in countless thousands of consumers losing their homes and put our economy in a precarious position.

When history tells the story of the subprime lending crisis and recounts its devastating effects on the lives of so many innocent homeowners, the Bush administration will not be judged favorably. The tale is still unfolding, but when the dust settles, it will be judged as a willing accomplice to the lenders who went to any lengths in their quest for profits. So willing, in fact, that it used the power of the federal government in an unprecedented assault on state legislatures, as well as on state attorneys general and anyone else on the side of consumers.

So just keep all that in mind when you think about who should get the keys to the bailout henhouse.

(h/t sadlyyes for the Spitzer piece)

September 21st, 2008 at 12:44pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Republicans

I Want To Know Who This Is

So I can send them lots of money.

This email is from a lawmaker and it should give you a flavor for what’s going on right now in Congress.

Paulsen and congressional Republicans, or the few that will actually vote for this (most will be unwilling to take responsibility for the consequences of their policies), have said that there can’t be any “add ons,” or addition provisions. Fuck that. I don’t really want to trigger a world wide depression (that’s not hyperbole, that’s a distinct possibility), but I’m not voting for a blank check for $700 billion for those mother fuckers.

Nancy said she wanted to include the second “stimulus” package that the Bush Administration and congressional Republicans have blocked. I don’t want to trade a $700 billion dollar giveaway to the most unsympathetic human beings on the planet for a few fucking bridges. I want reforms of the industry, and I want it to be as punitive as possible.


I also find myself drawn to provisions that would serve no useful purpose except to insult the industry, like requiring the CEOs, CFOs and the chair of the board of any entity that sells mortgage related securities to the Treasury Department to certify that they have completed an approved course in credit counseling. That is now required of consumers filing bankruptcy to make sure they feel properly humiliated for being head over heels in debt, although most lost control of their finances because of a serious illness in the family. That would just be petty and childish, and completely in character for me.

I’m open to other ideas, and I am looking for volunteers who want to hold the sons of bitches so I can beat the crap out of them.

Awesome.  Whoever this is, I hope he or she has some influence, and isn’t just a lone angry voice screaming in the wilderness.

September 21st, 2008 at 11:07am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy

Contact Eli



Most Recent Posts




September 2008
« Aug   Oct »

Thinking Blogger

Pittsburgh Webloggers

Site Meter

View My Stats *