Thursday, November 13, 2008

straight up thievery.

Remember back when we were being sold on the bailout? Bush, Paulson, their minions, and their lackeys in the media ramped up the fear level, talked a lot about The Coming Depression, threw around words like "dire" and "catastrophe", and in general just basically put a rhetorical gun to our heads and said "your money or your life".

And then the valiant keepers of the public trust -- those stalwarts of integrity, holders of the purse strings, -- yes, Congress -- took up the charge. To a thoroughly frightened but still skeptical public, they said: "Yes, something must be done. We realize you don't trust Bush. We don't either. And that's why we are going to insist -- insist! -- upon accountability, transparency, competence, fairness, and -- above all -- what we, Congress, have always been most known for: Stringent And Rigorous Oversight.

In the immortal words of Tyler Durden: how's that working out for ya?

Competence? Not so much. After stridently insisting for the first two weeks of bailout talks that the only way to address the crisis was to buy "troubled assets" from financial institutions and mocking those who suggested buying equity stakes in impaired institutions... Paulson has now completely changed course and decided that, well, buying troubled assets isn't such a great idea and the real solution is to buy equity stakes in impaired institutions. My friends, that's not competence we can believe in.

Fairness and accountability? I don't fucking think so. Congresspersons repeatedly stood in front of teevee cameras and harangued against greedy Wall Street execs, with their golden parachutes and outrageous compensation packages and said "Not on my watch!" They proclaimed that no banks taking taxpayer handouts would be allowed to overpay their executives in the manner of times past. "Not with us on the job, they won't!", Congress said. Well, according to the linked Bloomberg article, under Paulson's new and improved plan: "It would appear that no penalties will apply to institutions that receive taxpayer funds and violate the act's restrictions on executive compensation." Shocking. I mean it. I am really truly shocked at this. You could really seriously knock me over with a feather. So very very surprising. And unexpected. I mean, no one could have possibly predicted this!

Transparency? You didn't really believe that, did you? "The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral."

Oh, and but the much-touted Stringent And Rigourous Oversight? Not bloody fucking likely:
"[T]he Bush administration has committed $290 billion of the $700 billion rescue package. Yet for all this activity, no formal action has been taken to fill the independent oversight posts established by Congress when it approved the bailout to prevent corruption and government waste. Nor has the first monitoring report required by lawmakers been completed, though the initial deadline has passed."
And again, this is just a shocking, unbelievable development in this whole situation. I mean, who could have ever predicted that something like this could ever happen? Utterly inconceivable!

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