Sunday, September 28, 2008


The full draft of the bailout bill here. I still do not think this is the right track. The Congress grants full authority for the first $250,000,000,000.00 of a total approved bailout amount of $700,000,000,000.00 to Mr. Paulson rightaway while giving him the authority to appropriate the remaining $450,000,000,000.00 as soon as he deems fit unless both the Senate and the House decide that further appropriations might not be a good idea. The chances of that happening is next to none... This still seems like a bailout of Wall Street fat cats (sorry, could not resist the useless cliche') - regardless of what Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain tries to say to the contrary...

Joseph E. Stiglitz of the Nation said it better than a lot of us...

There are four fundamental problems with our financial system, and the Paulson proposal addresses only one. The first is that the financial institutions have all these toxic products--which they created--and since no one trusts anyone about their value, no one is willing to lend to anyone else. The Paulson approach solves this by passing the risk to us, the taxpayer--and for no return.

The second problem is that there is a big and increasing hole in bank balance sheets--banks lent money to people beyond their ability to repay--and no financial alchemy will fix that. If, as Paulson claims, banks get paid fairly for their lousy mortgages and the complex products in which they are embedded, the hole in their balance sheet will remain. What is needed is a transparent equity injection, not the non-transparent ruse that the administration is proposing.

The third problem is that our economy has been supercharged by a housing bubble which has now burst. The best experts believe that prices still have a way to fall before the return to normal, and that means there will be more foreclosures. No amount of talking up the market is going to change that. The hidden agenda here may be taking large amounts of real estate off the market--and letting it deteriorate at taxpayers' expense.

The fourth problem is a lack of trust, a credibility gap. Regrettably, the way the entire financial crisis has been handled has only made that gap larger.

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