Monday, September 22, 2008

Congress: No Bailout Without Oversight

Well it didn’t work, did it? Amid frantic screams for fast action before financial disaster hits, the fear that is so much a hallmark of the Republican psyche failed to spread beyond the usual suspects. Not only did congress NOT pass any bailout bill today, they came back to Treasury Secretary Paulson with a collective “what the #%&@*! is this?”

As pointed out by POGO (Project on Government Oversight) two troublesome sections in the bill proposed by the treasury are heinous in their very essence in that they bring to mind the very thing, too many secrets, that got us into this fix in the first place.

Section 2 grants the Secretary the authority to enter into contracts "without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts”

Section 8 would make the Secretary's decisions non-reviewable "by any court of law or any administrative agency."

The Treasury Secretary, in short, was setting himself up as someone with absolute power in this crisis. I’m sorry that’s a little too much to take. The former CEO of Goldman-Sachs is essentially placed in charge of the distribution of vast sums of money to his friends with absolutely no oversight, leaving those wronged in this with no recourse in courts.

I think Vladimir Putin would just love to have this kind of authority.

Congress is coming back with all sorts of remedies, bankers may have to forfeit those bonuses they got selling mortgages to unqualified borrowers, and Paulson is seeing one privilege after another being stripped out of the bill.

I think the bailout is inevitable. Wall Street sold Main Street down the river and now we taxpayers have to pony up or face greater devastation. I’m just glad that cooler minds won the day, on a day when the DOW fell 372 points when traders saw their Christmas bonuses go up in flames.

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