Monday, September 22, 2008

Here is some of the discussion on the Paulson Proposal

  • Politico has a good article stating that Dems say they won’t get fooled again.
    Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) says he’s seen this movie before: The Bush administration, citing an unprecedented national threat, puts the hammer on Congress to ram through gargantuan legislation with a minimum of review — and the murkiest of repercussions.

    “We will do something this week — but if we learned anything from right after 9/11, it’s that the biggest mistake is to pass anything they ask for just because it’s an emergency,” Leahy says.
    Good for Leahy.
  • Chris Dodd is pushing for additional things to make the legislation workable.
    Among the major provisions Dodd is adding:

    * Authority for bankruptcy judges to restructure mortgages for homeowners facing foreclosure.

    * A provision that would require the Treasury to take 65 percent of any profits it makes from the newly purchased assets and put it into the federal government's HOPE program, an affordable housing program.

    * An oversight board that not only includes the chairman of the Federal Reserve and the SEC, but congressionally appointed, non-governmental officials.

    * Limits on executive compensation. This is a major stumbling point for Paulson in his negotiations with Congress, but cracking down on Wall Street executive salaries will be a major selling point for lawmakers. Dodd and Frank have put in place what's known as a "claw back" provision aimed at revoking compensation that executives received based on fraudulent claims.

    * An independent inspector general to investigate the Treasury asset program, appointed by the president.
    That's a start.
  • Here's a biggie. CEO pay emerges as bailout barrier.
  • Glenn Greenwald describes the growing right wing opposition to Paulson's propoasl.
    "Prominent economists, who had previously been defending Paulson for the most part, began voicing serious doubts about his plan. As the AP put it yesterday: "Many of the same economists and opinion-makers who'd provided a bipartisan sheen of consensus to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's previous moves have quickly begun casting doubts on the wisdom of a policy that would allow Treasury to purchase without oversight hundreds of billions of dollars of difficult-to-price assets from financial institutions." Not only Paul Krugman, who was a skeptic from the start, but conservative economic experts have also now expressed opposition, including former Bush and Romney advisor Greg Mankiw and -- in an excellent column on Saturday -- Sebastian Mallaby, who described the rapid move to embrace Paulson's plan as "extremely dangerous."

    And now, some of the most rabid ideologues on the Right are voicing increasingly strident opposition as well. At National Review last night, Newt Gingrich wrote that "watching Washington rush to throw taxpayer money at Wall Street has been sobering and a little frightening" and said he "hopes Congress will slow down and have an open debate." Thereafter, NR's Yuval Levin proclaimed that nobody could read through the Paulson proposal "without concluding that everyone in Washington has lost their minds." In The New York Times today, Bill Kristol said he's "doubtful that the only thing standing between us and a financial panic is for Congress to sign this week, on behalf of the American taxpayer, a $700 billion check over to the Treasury," while Michelle Malkin posted a lengthy alarmist screed warning that "Hank Paulson must be contained."

    Right-wing opposition to the Paulson plan is vital for having any meaningful chance to stop it. Does anyone have any confidence at all in the Democrats' willingness and/or ability to impede this bailout train if the Bush administration and the Right were vigorously behind it, warning the nation of impending doom unless we submit to vast, unchecked government power of the type Henry Paulson is demanding? "
  • Digby dives in and describes how the right-wingers will use their vote against Paulson's proposal to distance themselves from the politically toxic Bush administration.
Then add this ARG poll to everything that has been in the news. NO Americans think the economy is getting better! That's zero Americans. Atrios comments "Wow. I'm not sure I've ever seen a poll with a '0' on anything."

Addendum 4:07 pm CDT
Interesting. Calculated Risk points out that Paulson has agreed to let the government "take an equity stake" in the rescued banks - that is, take some ownership in them. At the same time CR says the Bush administration has "...agree[d] to compensation limits for bank chief executives taking part in the plan and [to] the need for more help for homeowners facing foreclosure...".

A President with a 17% approval rating on his handling of the economy really does not have a lot of influence in the Congress.

No comments: