Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Monday, September 22nd, 2008.


Is Anyone FOR the Bleeping Bailout?

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blogging, Bush Administration, Democratic Party, economy, Republican Party

There seems to be nearly unanimous disapproval of Paulson’s $700 billion bailout, henceforth called “Plan B.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that “Liberal advocacy groups have mobilized to stop the financial bailout package, just as Bush administration officials are urging lawmakers to act quickly and decisively.” At Salon, Glenn Greenwald documents “Growing right-wing opposition to the Paulson plan.”

Righties opposed to Paulson include Little Lulu, who calls Paulson a “wrong-headed, ChiCom-promoting, liberal Democrat-installing, Gore global warming alarmist” (in keeping with Lulu’s understanding of political science — if she doesn’t like it, it must be liberal) and who wants a return to conservatives principles. Yes, I see the oxymoron, too.

One of Little Lulu’s readers responded to the question, “Will the real fiscal conservatives please stand up?” with “There aren’t any. Phil Gramm retired long ago.” They’re still willfully refusing to see that Phil Gramm and “conservative principles” caused the bloody mess to begin with. Oh, and a lot of Lulu’s readers seem to think illegal aliens are behind this, somehow.

But the point is that, wonder of wonders, the Right and the Left halves of the blogosphere are moving toward the same opinion, which is that Paulson’s plan must be stopped.

I’ve been surfing around for a respectable economist, i.e. one not on the Bush Administration’s or Republican Party’s payroll, who supports the plan. The only favorable comments I find are from last week, before details were announced. Now there is near unanimity among economists and finance experts that Plan B is a bad plan.

So, who’s for Plan B? Via Josh Marshall, the Wall Street Journal (behind firewall) says,

House Republican staffers met with roughly 15 lobbyists Friday afternoon, whose message to lawmakers was clear: Don’t load the legislation up with provisions not directly related to the crisis, or regulatory measures the industry has long opposed.

“We’re opposed to adding provisions that will affect [or] undermine the deal substantively,” said Scott Talbott, senior vice president of government affairs at the Financial Services Roundtable, whose members include the nation’s largest banks, securities firms and insurers.

A deal killer for the group: a proposal that would grant bankruptcy judges new powers to lower the principal, interest rate or both on a mortgage as part of a bankruptcy proceeding.

So, says Josh, “finance industry lobbyists are already giving orders to Republican hill staffers not to allow any meaningful reforms or protections for taxpayers. So, just the money. No strings attached.”

(Don’t tell Lulu about not lowering principal or interest rates on mortgages in bankruptcy, or she might change her mind about the evilness of the Plan. Sticking it to the poor and distressed is what righties live for. It makes them feel superior.)

Some things don’t change

President Bush this morning warned lawmakers against trying to make too many changes to the proposed financial bailout legislation, but Senate Democrats announced that they would add provisions to the plan that could spur opposition from the administration or congressional Republicans and bog down the measure.

In Bush World, Congress is redundant.

Dan Froomkin:

Does President Bush’s support for a radical financial bailout represent a reversal in his political ideology? Not likely.

For one, it seems to be less a reversal than a recusal. Bush appears ideologically spent, rather than transformed. He has for all intents and purposes become the bystander-in-chief, letting others in his administration do the heavy lifting.

Furthermore, the plan concocted by two Bush appointees features some distinctive characteristics of major Bush initiatives past: It would be spectacularly expensive, primarily benefit the very rich, and grant the executive branch unlimited power with no transparency or accountability.

Explained that way, one would think righties would like it. They supported just about every other plan like that that the Bushies have come up with.

See also Sean-Paul Kelley.

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Beyond Meltdown

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blogging, Bush Administration, economy

Paul Krugman’s column explains Henry Paulson’s $700 billion rescue plan for the U.S. financial system. The title of the column provides a hint of Krugman’s opinion — “Cash for Trash.”

Basically, after having spent a year and a half telling everyone that things were under control, the Bush administration says that the sky is falling, and that to save the world we have to do exactly what it says now now now.

Once again, the Bush Administration and right-wingers in Congress are using a crisis to shift more wealth to the extremely wealthy. “Plan B” will reward the people who got us into this mess with a penalty-free bailout. Taxpayers and America in general will be the poorer for it.

Is there any reason outside avarice and corruption that the feds are pursuing this course? A conservative blogger (whose analysis of the crisis is reasonably sane) says,

Of course the almost hysterical urgency is partially because the locks on the coffers change in January. If Obama wins, so will the tax code. The administration’s preferred version of the bailout would be one last Wall Street giveaway before higher taxes and a tougher regulatory environment.

In other words, if Obama wins they’ll no longer be guarding the henhouse, so they’re making off with as many chickens as they can carry while they still can.

Dems in Congress are making noises about help for homeowners and caps on top executive compensation. Will they once again get railroaded into doing what the administration wants? Sean-Paul Kelley says there is room for hope. Very little room, I say. I don’t see what the Dems could lose by sticking to principles, and there is much they could gain, but we’ve been here too many times before, haven’t we?

Elsewhere: You know we’re approaching the End of Days when Sam Donaldson, George Will and Cokie Roberts trash a Republican and praise a Democrat. WTF? you say. My guess is that this trio lost a whole lot of money this week and realized that if they don’t want to be wiped out entirely they do not want to put John McCain in charge of the economy. “John McCain showed his personality this week,” Will said, “and made some of us fearful.” I know the feeling.

Meanwhile, most of the Right Blogosphere remains oblivious to the details of the financial crisis and the atrocity the feds are about to commit to “fix” it. Rather than concern themselves with understanding the issues, they’ve gone into hyper-blame mode. Clif give us his version of the shorter Right Blogosphere: “[T]he reason for the current financial crisis is that the Community Reinvestment Act passed by the Democrats forced banks to lend money to a bunch of shiftless darkies who couldn’t repay their loans.”

My version of the shorter Right Blogosphere: “The elitist Left is behind this. We hates them. We hates them, precious.”

Nothing much else to do but laugh.

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