Monday, December 15, 2008

Still here, still throwing (metaphorical) shoes at the preznit

But that guy is phenomenally good at ducking them.

As I have noted several previous times, back when Bush and Paulson first proposed looting the treasury of several hundred billion dollars for the benefit of their Wall Street cronies, our illustrious congress would have none of it. "No, sir!" they said. "We must have oversight and accountability!"

One prominent feature of this accountability was "limits on executive pay." Notwithstanding that the provision proposed for this purpose by the congress itself was exceedingly weak, congress then allowed the administration to insert one additional condition; a single sentence that we now learn -- or I should say, the Washington Post and its readers are now learning, though those of us who were paying attention knew it all along -- I say, a single sentence was added that acted as a lexical dentist of sorts, forcibly removing all remaining teeth from that particular mouth of accountability.

From the article:

Congress wanted to guarantee that the $700 billion financial bailout would limit the eye-popping pay of Wall Street executives, so lawmakers included a mechanism for reviewing executive compensation and penalizing firms that break the rules.

But at the last minute, the Bush administration insisted on a one-sentence change to the provision, congressional aides said. The change stipulated that the penalty would apply only to firms that received bailout funds by selling troubled assets to the government in an auction, which was the way the Treasury Department had said it planned to use the money.

Now, however, the small change looks more like a giant loophole, according to lawmakers and legal experts. In a reversal, the Bush administration has not used auctions for any of the $335 billion committed so far from the rescue package, nor does it plan to use them in the future. Lawmakers and legal experts say the change has effectively repealed the only enforcement mechanism in the law dealing with lavish pay for top executives.

Note that it says "which was the way the Treasure Department had said it planned to use the money." My italics. Because although they said this, they had no present intention of actually doing it this way:
Meanwhile, Paulson repeatedly told lawmakers that he did not plan to use bailout funds to inject capital directly into financial institutions. Privately, however, his staff was developing plans to do just that, Paulson acknowledged in an interview.
But because Bush and his minions had always been so trustworthy up until that point, it only stands to reason that congress, in its infinite wisdom and foresight, would naturally take them at their word.

People, this is theft on a massive, historical scale. The magnitude is stunning. Congress has been delinquent, and, what's worse, its dereliction of duty in this particular case, while shameful, is not exactly big news at this point and arguably isn't even the worst thing they've done in the past year.


Kingfish said...

I hope you don't lose your job, because this blogging everyday would put you in an early grave.

Gleemonex said...