Lesly (deadbeatwriter) wrote,

Sky's Falling Presumably On Hold

The Senate version bailout bill H.R. 1424 (pdf) has passed. Several goodies were added to bring everyone on board. I have to wonder if the carrots were necessary as I watched C-SPAN last night.

I'm disappointed George Voinovich (Ohio), one of those rare moderate Republicans, voted for it. It's also disappointing but not at all surprising that the voters' mood shifted overnight. Watching your retirement/college funds drop a few thousand in value after Monday's stock plunge can tweak your attitude. The House will probably pass their bailout Friday night. Then it's adjusting differences and off to Bush's desk and everyone hopes he won't write another Executive Order for the greater good. Again.

I was impressed with democratic socialist Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and progressive Maria Cantwell (D-WA). Both voted nay.

Sanders pointed out several issues the bill fails to address: rolling back deregulation, too big to fail, consolidation and concentration, the fox guarding the hen house (Paulson's conflict of interest), etc. These—afterthoughts? deal breakers?—were left off the table on the assumption that Congress would address the problems after the upcoming elections. No word on Congress' commitment to address these issues now. No guess on how new representatives and senators could affect this airy commitment to finish the job later.

Cantwell talked about the irony of Congress trampling losers in the stampede to save everyone:

But Mr. President, the problem with the legislation before us is that it is choosing winners and losers. It is inserting the federal government in a role, in which they decide—along with the private sector—exactly how funds should be allocated. Now Mr. President, I am for the full faith and credit of the United States government backing these institutions. What I'm not for is turning the keys of the Treasury over to the private sector.

I ask you to just think of one institution in my state, Washington Mutual, who I wouldn't necessarily applaud for its sub-prime lending rates or for its use and backing of credit default swaps. But I would ask you to consider the fact that as that institution was forced into sale by this government who were the winners and losers in that. J.P. Morgan got the assets of that institution and benefited from that. In fact, they predicted that night on a conference call that after one year and their investment they would have a $512 million dollar return on that investment—a 27 percent return in one year.

Now, the FDIC got some money out of that and to say nothing about the over 60,000 shareholders that were wiped out with zero. My complaint is where is J.P. Morgan standing up for the retirement plans, the deferred compensation plans and other packages that the employees at [Washington Mutual] were due?

So it's very convenient for us to now choose that we are going to add to J.P. Morgan's bottom line. In fact, if we would instead do what I'm suggesting, have an equity proposal instead of having TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, as the roof over America—instead an equity program where the United States would leverage our capital and get a 10 to 12 percent return our nation would be better funded for the onslaught of trouble that is still going to remain after we pass this legislation. I could not even get my amendment to be considered.

People/bloggers holding out for a nay vote are already thought of as irresponsible anarchs. Not one to skip skewering the establishment press, Glenn Greenwald exposes the Washington Post's Steven Pearlstein's naked condescension towards readers stubbornly expecting more than finger-in-the-dike legislation from Congress. The unspoken assumption is the holdouts don't have portfolios at stake and/or they get through by functioning outside the economic mainstream. "Serious" people don't question the political/economic/media establishment. Talk about elitist.

Finally, no, wingnuts, this wasn't caused by the Community Reinvestment Act of 19 freaking 77 (i.e. lending to the poor, blacks) or even government sponsored entities like Freddie and Fannie. Although, for the sake of protecting the public lending institutions should be private or public, not something in between.

I leave you cats with this video clip.

Tags: stuff with numbers

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