By Scott Cavanagh
The Bush administration has introduced us to a lot of people over the past eight years. Special people, like Dick Cheney and Karl Rove; Scooter Libby and Alberto Gonzalez; Harriet Miers and Mike "Way to go Brownie" Brown. These are people we were supposed to trust because George W. Bush told us to.
Now the administration that has provided us with so many memories--from the 9/11 attacks, to the drowning of New Orleans, the acceptance of torture, the outing of a CIA agent, domestic spying, preemptive endless war and mind-boggling budget deficits wants us to entrust one of them with the sole stewardship of $700 billion of our money--no questions asked.
Only weeks after both Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson deemed the fundamentals of our economy "strong" and our markets "flexible and resilient," the administration has decided that we are not only staring over the abyss of the next Great Depression, we need to immediately adopt its plan for recovery--with Paulson serving as our financial Il Duce in some quasi-socialist economic fiefdom--or else.
They have steered the old Ford directly into the ditch and now they want us to hand them the keys to the family Cadillac--because only they know the way out of this mess. In the immortal words of John McEnroe--they CANNOT be serious.
The potential collapse of many of our oldest and most respected financial institutions requires swift and decisive action. However, the idea that a virtually sight-unseen plan, provided by the very people who got us into this mess--one that gives one man unlimited power with virtually no oversight--is the only answer, is not only stupid and short-sighted, it comes right out of the same tired "our way or the highway" play book that the incompetents in the Bush administration and their buddies on Capitol Hill have been utilizing for eight years.
These are the same guys that shoved the Patriot Act down our throats without even giving members of Congress time to read it. Remember Saddam Hussein? We had to go to war against him too. It was going to be easy, pay for itself with oil revenue and be over in months. That was five years, $556 Billion and 4,200 dead Americans ago.
Remember how we had to privatize Social Security by letting people play the stock market? How's that idea sound right about now? John McCain even suggested in 2004 that some of those Social Security benefits be invested in the sub-prime mortgage market. Yeesh.
It appears there is nothing that can stop this bailout now--so all that is left is for the few Democrats with any fight in them and any actual fiscal conservatives that still exist to band together and demand a few basic principles of common sense, oversight and fairness in this process.
There can be no extravagant compensation packages for CEO's. If they don't like the reasonable compensation offered, FIRE THEM--with two weeks pay--like the rest of us.
If we are going to lend these obviously bad credit risks billions of dollars, we need to charge them the same "high-risk" interest rates they would have slapped on us. Why in the world would we not want a return on our money--considering we are going to give it all right back to them to gamble away again anyway?
There can be no bailout "Czar" with the powers proposed for Paulson and his successor at Treasury. A powerful Secretary, yes--another all-powerful, infallible Grand Poohbah--please, no.
These concessions are not too much to ask in return for what is left of our national cash flow.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008
By Scott Cavanagh