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 arenâ€™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.)
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.
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.