This is more or less what Secretary Paulson and the Bush White House are saying to Congress right now. As I understand it, the bill submitted to Congress more or less would give Paulson the discretion to bail out whomever he chooses with no congressional oversight. I applaud Congress finally locating their cajones and standing up to the White House. Maybe they’ll try to become the party of the working man again after all.
This bill follows the usual Bush tactics that we’ve seen in previous crises like 9/11 and the Iraq war vote. Submit a bill to Congress that’s extremely favorable to you and your cronies and then warn Congres to not screw around, for national security is at stake or some similar BS. The message being sent is “give us what we want, or we will make you look like the bad guys that dithered while things went to hell.” To me, this sounds like the Patriot Bill passage (where congress voted on a bill they hadn’t even gotten a chance to read in many cases). Don’t ask questions, there’s no time… just give us what we want!
The Democratic-led Congress are right to stand up to the White House in this case and press for more oversight and try to get what they can for the taxpayers. Naturally, the Republicans and banking lobbyists are indignant that the Dems would actually try to put limits on Bank CEO golden parachutes or take an ownership stake in companies that approach the bailout window. They want the positive aspects of the new socialism without the negative ones… that would be unpatriotic I’m sure…
The game of brinksmanship being played right now is for extremely high stakes, and we’ll see who blinks first.