Finance Officials Beg Congress To Give Them $700 Billion

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. was not warmly received at today’s bailout hearing when he stared down an angry and disenchanted Senate Banking Committee. Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, who appeared with Mr. Paulson, warned that unless Congress gave Mr. Paulson $700 billion that “inaction could lead to a recession.” Oooh, they said the “R” word….

The New York Times says:

But one after another, senators from both parties said that, while they were prepared to move fast, they were far from ready to give the administration everything it wanted in its proposed $700 billion plan to buy up and hopefully resell troubled mortgages.

Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of the Senate banking panel, called the Treasury proposal “stunning and unprecedented in its scope and lack of detail.”

Asserting that the plan would allow Mr. Paulson to act with “absolute impunity,” Senator Dodd said, “After reading this proposal, I can only conclude that it is not only our economy that is at risk, Mr. Secretary, but our Constitution, as well.”

Another expression of disgust came from Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky, who said the plan would “take Wall Street’s pain and spread it to the taxpayers.”

“It’s financial socialism, and it’s un-American,” Mr. Bunning said.

Paulson responded that he was “angry” at Wall Street and that he needed the bailout not for the fat cats who bet badly and lost, but for you, the taxpayer.

“This is all about the taxpayers. That is all we are about,” said Paulson, who was formerly the CEO of Goldman Sachs for 7 years before becoming Secretary of the Treasury in 2006.

Finance Officials Face Wary Lawmakers [NYT]
(Photo:Andrew Councill for The New York Times)

Comments

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  1. NightSteel says:

    …then why are you taking the money from us and not them?

    • Counterpoint says:

      @NightSteel: I am a hardcore conservative, almost to the point of leaning libertarian. This is the last straw for Bush and his “compassionate conservative” socialism b.s. I grumbled through the farm bills, the steel bill, and other questionable fiscal policies he signed / enacted.

      Giving a gigantic amount of taxpayer money to someone who hasn’t been successful and who would have no oversight on how to spend it is ridiculous.

      I still think the root cause was Fannie & Freddie, but Bush’s response to this situation has been ridiculous. Sadly, we have two pick the lesser of two evils in this upcoming election since neither has much economic experience. If only Ron Paul wasn’t so nutty on the war, he would have been the perfect candidate right now…

      • papahoth says:

        @Counterpoint: That would be the Fannie and Freddie that by far had the least amount of subprime loans? They had a problem for sure, but that has nothing to do with Bear-Stearns, Lehmann, etc.

        • Counterpoint says:

          @papahoth: Fannie & Freddie were setup with privatized profits and socialized losses — meaning the government basically guarnateed that their was no risk in their business. They then bought a ton of risky loans since they would get covered no matter what (by taxpayers through the gov). AIG, Lehman, Bear-Stearns, etc invested heavily in Freddie & Fannie then since they were a no-lose stock… and then Freddie & Fannie lost. The gov covered F & F, but AIG, Lehman et al still crumbled.

  2. “This is all about the taxpayers. That is all we are about,”

    It’s only about the taxpayers because we’re the only place he can borrow money anymore. The best part about it is that they won’t even ask us whether we want to loan it to them.

    At least some of our elected officials have enough balls to tell him that if doesn’t have a good plan to quit wasting their time.

  3. kingmanic says:

    3 words;
    Fuck you Bernanke

  4. lawnmowerdeth says:

    I would like to spend a weekend blowing all my savings in Vegas. Will the government please take over my house payment for me?

    • howie_in_az says:

      @lawnmowerdeth: This whole thing is a lot like Lost in America but without Albert Brooks (and any trace of comedy).

    • tricky69 says:

      @twophrasebark:
      Those are pretty simplistic numbers. You can’t do it by 300 million because at least 75-90 (i’m using the current projected census numbers) million are between 1-16 or 18. Plus the remaining senior citizens that rely on SS would have an impact as well. That’s roughly leaving 100 to 150 million to carry the burden. That’s anywhere from 4000 – 6000 per person then – not household. But my numbers could be way off because the $700bn is just a STARTING number no where near the the final amount.

  5. Here’s the dirty secret of the baillout. Buried in the proposal is the following text:

    Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

    [www.huffingtonpost.com]

    In other words, they want the money, we can’t ask anything about the money after we give it to them, and we can’t ask any court to review its use or have any other branch or agency of the government review its use.

    • m2ky2fo says:

      @twophrasebark: I love the fact that the part of the bill that outlines this power is called “Section 8″

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @twophrasebark: Even better, there’s no provision that working US taxpayers only bail out US investment bankers’ yachts. As galling as that would be, working US taxpayers could very well end up purchasing foreign banks’ bad debt, with no strings.

      I guess the whole, let’s build Iraq’s infrastructure while we starve ours, will be taken to a whole new level.

  6. MercuryPDX says:

    None of the senators who listened to Mr. Paulson and Mr. Bernanke disputed the grim possibilities if Congress should do nothing, but it was clear that they were hearing from their angry constituents. Senator Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, for instance, said residents of her state have been complaining about “costly and reckless” behavior on Wall Street, and the potential cost to people who are anything but wealthy. (Senator Dole is running for re-election.)

    To reiterate what a few people said yesterday, take a few minutes to contact your state reps and let them know what you think.

  7. describe_one says:

    I think they should let them all fail; people need to start banking and investing with reputable institutions without a snazzy commercial or unrealistic amenities. Sure there is going to be hardship for many, but we don’t need crappy lending institutions like these staying in business and dragging everyone to the bottom.

    • NittanyMountainMan says:

      @describe_one:I’m a new poster here but a long time reader of the site. I work for one of this site “favorite” banks, I won’t say which one, and I’m a consumer too. I’m not a high ranking bank official but I am a floor manager and being a floor manager in a collections department has taught me ALOT about credit and how it can be good or bad. First I’d like to make the point that while I agree I don’t want to have to pay to bail someone else out who messed up or got misguided, there has to be some sort of bailout for some of these companies. One example is Freddie and Fannie, if they fail we all fail, period. If any of you posters out there are like me and in between graduation and career you’ll probably be hoping to buy a house in the next few years. If these companies go down, good luck to all of you because I’ll be runnin for Canada. Your ability to get a loan on a home and to get a fair rate on that home are in direct relation to what companies are out there to back that sort of credit. Did the fat cats get greedy? yes they did. Do I want to pay for it? Hello no. But if this can be averted by some kind of backing I’m down if it’ll help US ALL save some money in the future.

      P.S.- $700 billion would be excessive, I say we make the CEO’s each work at burger king to work off the debt to society and pick up the difference

      • TouchMyMonkey says:

        @NittanyMountainMan: You can go to Canada, if they’ll even have you. See if I care.

        As far as I’m concerned, the offending investment bankers can all twist in the wind. They made the mess; they can clean it up – without our help. I can drive my POS car another couple of years before I really need a new one, and we can all wait an extra couple of years for all of this to blow over before signing our lives away at a mortgage closing.

        All of these alleged “consequences” are both temporary and vastly overstated by people whose chief goal is scaring the bejeebers out of Congress with an election five weeks away. Believe me, this so-called “emergency” will lose a lot of its urgency come November 5th.

  8. Listen, this is the Bush doctrine.

    1. We do whatever we want.
    2. If you mess up, fuck you.
    3. If we mess up, you bail us out. Then return to number 1.

    That’s it. There’s nothing else to it.

  9. holocron says:

    Okay, so why not directly bail out the taxpayer? Seems like a more direct route and cheaper.

    • @holocron: We don’t bail out poor people!!!

      They’re used to being poor.

      The rich people cannot handle this. They need to be bailed out.

      Doncha see? :)

    • @holocron: If we don’t bail out the fatcats, they will be forced to sell off 2 of their 3 yachts and their summer home in France! They shouldn’t have to experience such SUFFERING! Only by throwing taxpayer money at them without question can we make sure that they can afford solid gold toilets! It’s the only right thing to do!

      • ARP says:

        @FuryOfFirestorm: That’s where you’re wrong. These companies will go bankrupt, but they’ll pay the executives “stay bonuses” to stay on during the wind down or restructuring. So, in the end, executives never lose.

  10. Mfalconieri says:

    I really hope that someone stands up to them and does NOT give them a blank check for 700 billion. If they do not stand up to them, I will probably lose my last drop of respect for any government agency. Bush and his cronies should all be shot. Totally useless and dirty.

  11. lightaugust says:

    Times have been so partisan for so long now, that it takes this to remind me that there are good politicians on both sides of the aisle. Here’s to all of them for at least trying to call them for what this is.

  12. junip says:

    In regards to Paulson:
    “He’s asking for a huge amount of power,” said Nouriel Roubini, an economist at New York University. “He’s saying, `Trust me, I’m going to do it right if you give me absolute control.’ This is not a monarchy.”

    “The plan would raise the ceiling on the national debt and spend as much as the combined annual budgets of the Departments of Defense, Education and Health and Human Services.”

    [www.bloomberg.com]

    • junip says:

      @junip:
      Another good quote from the end of the bloomberg article:

      The Bush administration seeks “dictatorial power unreviewable by the third branch of government, the courts, to try to resolve the crisis,” said Frank Razzano, a former assistant chief trial attorney at the Securities and Exchange Commission now at Pepper Hamilton LLP in Washington. “We are taking a huge leap of faith.”

      I couldn’t say it much better..other than, this sh*t is F’d UP. I guess this is Bush’s going-away present to the US citizens.

    • Funny, when they asked for this kind of power before, it was for “national security” reasons.

      Why do they need this kind of power now?

    • @junip: Yes, the U.S. turned into a monarchy. The people pay taxes to support a bunch of rich guys for doing nothing.

  13. copious28 says:

    Down here in Texas, we knew that GB had run two oil companies into the ground. Some of us told you not to elect him president and what did you go and do? Well, I guess he ran the US into the ground too.

    • nicemarmot617 says:

      @copious28: You’re the ones who elected that dumbass in the first place!

      That being said, yes I saw in 2000 that Bush & Co were utterly evil and inept as well. I just had no idea of the scope of their evil plotting and their utterly cavalier attitude toward their own constituents – the constituents making less than 500k a year, anyway.

    • junip says:

      @copious28: I did NOT vote for GB. I can’t believe anyone did.

  14. British Benzene says:

    Why is a recession worse than putting me (and my kids, and their kids…) on the hook for another $1,000,000,000,000 (you know when the government asks for $700,000,000,000, they’ll actually spend more). Seriously?

  15. SkokieGuy says:

    Paulson helped draft the proposal that gives him a 700 BILLION dollar check with no strings, no oversite?

    This is absolutely stunning in its arrogance. I’m thrilled to see both parties protesting this outrage.

    With all the talk about parellels to the depression. Here’s some interesting info:
    The top one percent of households received 21.8 percent of all pre-tax income in 2005. This is the greatest concentration of income since 1928, when 23.9 percent of all income went to the richest one percent. [www.demos-usa.org]

  16. bobacus says:

    Well with 700 billion, everyone could have healthcare, Refinace all these homes, fund all our schools and update all our infastructure. And they want us to just give it so some banks can lift there stock price? How can you be against all I said before (socialized, blah blah) and be for this?
    I say screw them, let it all fail and we fix mainstreet. But congress will give in and 700B will be out the door and nothing gets fixed and the republicans can shout for 4 years that that the evil democrats are fiscally irresponsible and we will all be back to the same thing 10 years from now. It’s a scam. Call your senator, rep or whoever and tell them if the agree to this, you will make sure they are invited to no longer represent the american people. Throwing 700 B at this problem will not do anything, but make some FOREIGN bans and CEOs rich because BUSH decided to fund a war thru China and the Middle East and they want there money NOW! It doesn’t matter who gets in office, if this passes. We are ALL screwed!

  17. randombob says:

    If we’re going to spend $700 BILLION to stem the financial crisis, why give it to the people who HAVE money already?

    Let’s give it to the people who are getting FUCKED by the poeple at the top, the poeple who are being shit on.

    I’m so sick & tired of the Republicans and their “Trickle-down” theories. IT’s all a lie; they tell the American people that it will help them out by “creating jobs,” but in reality all it does is shift wealth away from the people who do most of the work and need the most assistance, and gives it to the people who need it the least.

    Basically, the theory runs counter to everything that we say we stand for.

    • no.no.notorious says:

      maybe their wouldn’t need to be a “bail out” if everything wasn’t purchased on debt.

      @randombob: yeah, i’d prefer it like in most other countries, where you’re either royalty or really poor. i like no in-between myself. really levels the playing field.

      every decade has something new to be “scared” of. the next 10 years will come, and we’ll laugh about how easy we had it this time around, how could we have thought these were bad times, and ‘how could things get worse than this!’

  18. johnnya2 says:

    Just to put this in perspective.There were approximately 138 million taxpayers in the United States in 2007. At the 700 billion dollar price tag, that works out to over $5000 PER TAXPAYER. Could that money be given to the taxpayer and then funnel it either to their home loan that might be close to foreclosure, or to other things in the economy like cars, computers, clothes. The auto companies, computer industry and retailers could surely use 700 billion to help avoid possible recessions for them. I am disgusted.

    • neilb says:

      @johnnya2:
      If we round and revise the debt to reflect taxpayers, we get:
      10 trillion / 138 million = $72,463.76
      11 trillion / 138 million = $79,710.14
      Every US taxpayer is 72k in debt right now.
      We will gain 7.5k more in debt through a bank bailout of 1 trillion dollars.

      Both the starting and ending numbers are astounding in their magnitude.
      Good discussion at the debt page here:
      [en.wikipedia.org]

    • landsnark says:

      @johnnya2: You are smart. (I’m not being sarcastic.) I have spent *hours* reading about this crisis, and it never occurred to me to just cut out the middleman (which is essentially what banks are) and give money directly to the taxpayers.

      That is, the big fear here is that the American economy (not just banks) will stop functioning because no one will lend anyone else any money. $700 billion will surely solve that problem (at great taxpayer expense), but why does this money have to be funneled through banks?

      Businesses could just as easily finance whatever they are doing by trying to attract customers, every one of whom who are now flush with $5000.

  19. everfade says:

    This is a joke and the fact that Paulson would dare to state that this is for the benefit of us as taxpayers is outrageous. How about better funding for programs that actually directly affect the citizens? How about maybe for once actually giving a sh*t about those of us who are millionares? That’s too much to ask, however 700 billion with no strings attached is just dandy.
    *having a stroke*

  20. randombob says:

    OK what do we need to do to educate “The Base?” How can we enlighten those who keep falling for this spiel hook-line-and-sinker? THAT’S what we need to do; whatever that is, we need to do THAT.

    I am pretty sure it’s education and removing money from politics, but there could be other steps, as well.

    Bottom line, we need to change course grassroots. We need “The Base” to become educated & enlightened to what’s ACTUALLY happening to them, and stop eating up what they’re being told (that sounds so pretty!).

    That McCain is so close to a tie in this race is a sad statement of the American Constituency as a whole.

  21. Nytemare22 says:

    Take the time to look up and contact your representatives in congress. The US Congress website makes it very easy to do. Some of your reps will even email or call you back and carry on some form of discussion. Very simple, and it takes so little time. Do YOUR part and let them know how you feel.

  22. The new “Trickle Down” economics:

    The banking industry blows their load all over the face of the American economy, trickling down and drowning taxpayers.

  23. vdragonmpc says:

    Why not just pillage the banks for assets and then take the assets to banks that were not stupid. Its time for fire sale prices on these people.

    Were we going to have sympathy for the speculators on oil? Heck no I would dance on their empty pocketbooks…

    Lets start by shutting down student loan lenders and forgiving some student loans so people can come out of the debt they need help with. Then kill off each of the easy loan mortgage companies. consolidate them into a company that uses a regular rate like 6-8%. They would only have to shutter a few companies running rates over 10% and suddenly the businesses would take notice and stop the rate gouging.

    There is no real reason to see a home loan over 10% or a credit card at 29%

  24. Crabby Cakes says:

    As suggested before, PLEASE call/write/e-mail/smoke signal your Rep. and let them know this proposal is completely unacceptable. How much more power are we going to allow Bush & Co. to take from the American people? NO oversight? NO questions?

    You helped create this mess, Paulson, and now we’re supposed to trust you to sort it out… but if you don’t, there are no repercussions? I think not.

  25. RStewie says:

    It’s funny to think that even if America is against this, our system was BUILT to be run by a handful of people to have the “know-how” to do it.

    Read some of the actual statements made by the founding fathers, and you’ll see that they absolutely were NOT in favor of democracy, but rather a “represented democracy” where the knowing, educated, land-owning white men of the time could run things in generally the direction that the people wanted. HOWEVER, WITH the ability to negate the opinion of the masses “for their own good” should the need arise.

  26. gliscameria says:

    So now they’re going to blame the recession on them not getting ~1 trillion dollars to flush down the toilet?

    I’ve got a better use for that money. Reassess the values of upside down homes and adjust the mortgages accordingly. To recoop some of the loss, also reassess the value of forclosed homes and make that the sale price. The banks/assesors artifically inflated the home prices, and it’s never going to be right until the prices are back to where they should be. If the forclosures are left out there this adjustment is going to overshoot and multiply.

    …but NO! Let’s spend a trillion dollars on buying useless pieces of paper to make the people responsible for this disaster happy?

  27. RStewie says:

    Which is why it doesn’t matter what America really thinks. The banks will get their money, hopefully with some sort of oversight, and it just doesn’t MATTER what we the people want.

    Which is why voting is such a crock.

    The whole system needs to be overhauled.

  28. petezinct says:

    Why are they talking about $700 billion in “bailouts” without first fixing the underlying problems ? $700 billion can patch a lot of potholes in Wall St but it’s only a patch – the problems are still there.

  29. justbychance says:

    This is one of the worst magic shows I’ve ever seen by someone in a political office. Nothing more than “now you see it…. now you don’t” – too bad it’s 700 BILLION dollars.

    For all that money, they could pay everyone’s mortgage down to 60% of what’s owed – the people take care of the 40% and the bank will make out b/c they’ll get 60% upfront: instant equity infusion.

    Homeowners get to be responsibly and the bailout ends up helping the people it’s supposed to: homeowners.

    It amazes me that it’ll cost a trillion dollars to protect bank assets, but they don’t care one bit if Americans are unable to spend any more b/c of their housing, healthcare, food related expenses.

    The brass balls on these guys.

  30. failurate says:

    I am fairly certain that the $700 billion does not actually exist. That in order to make it exist, we will be experiencing instant inflation. The price of everything will go way up… except the price of your labor… that will stay the same. Welcome to the lower class, formerly middle class folk. And those rich people we hear about… they will be richer… much much richer.

  31. Parting says:

    Let these CEO volunteer THEIR money! Not taxpayers.

  32. Trencher93 says:

    Paulson representing the American taxpayer would be like Bud Selig representing baseball players in their negotiations.

  33. stevejust says:

    If it’s really for the taxpayer, then give the money directly to the people who can’t afford their mortages and have them pay their mortgages.

    Situation solved.

    Oh wait… that’s not what this is about, is it?

  34. HIV 2 Elway says:

    I’m not going to say what I think the proper course of action is, I’m still trying to make up my mind. But I know there are serious consequences to all of us if a major bank fails and the FDIC takes a substantial blow to thier reserves. Whatever path we choose, its not going to be pretty for the American taxpayer. Its a catch 22, if we pay their debt we are socializing losses. If we do nothing, we sit back and watch our financial stucture crumble.

  35. Shappie says:

    LOL at the picture and captions

  36. veronykah says:

    Thank you Consumerist, I just sent off an email to my Congressman.
    Its pretty amusing seeing the tables turned and the Dems being the ones fighting against government intervention while the republicans try to get it through.
    I guess it has to do with the wealthy though, so perhaps it makes more sense.
    It would be amazing to see the US spend that kind of money on itself though, 700 billion on infrastructure? Health care? Schools? Parks? Imagine the possiblities!

  37. Angryrider says:

    I know one place where $700 billion isn’t going. The American citizen that won’t have a safe place to sleep and a place to eat.
    I’ll expect the Government to eff it up.

  38. B1663R says:

    Not to alarm anyone here or nothing, but this all sound a little too much like the French Revolution of yore.

    if this keeps up, there is only so much a civilization can take before it’s pushed over the edge.

    a coup, followed by a revolution followed by a civil war and in 150 years or so we’ll be back to the same old mess except we’ll have ray guns and shit.

  39. tricky69 says:

    From what I’m reading they are going to offer the money to banks or financial institutions that are NOT having problems as well. Total BS. I vote to let every single one of these banks and/or whatever die from bad speculations. I don’t care if it does cause problems with financial markets here and around the world. This bailout *will* not solve any problems, it will just let the perpetrators that caused problems to continue their bad habits. These are same people that worked hard to make sure there were no regulations so that they could do all this crap – live by the sword die by the sword. Every single person that touted free markets and now wants a bailout should be publicly flogged.

  40. SkokieGuy says:

    French Revolution? How about German during the rise of the Third Reich?

    Massive inflation, wothless currency
    Evils blamed on others (replace Jews with Terrorists)
    “Patriotism” used as excuse for government to take rights from citizenry
    Fear used to quell opposition
    Government secrecy
    Massive wealth transfer from masses to limited privleged class
    Manipulation of press for propaganda purposes

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.
    Joseph Goebbels

  41. LogicalOne says:

    “…This is a crisis…We need Congress to act now and enact our proposal right now…We need the authority to do what we propose without review or oversight…”

    Where have we heard these words before?:

    1) The Patriot Act
    2) Authorization to invade Iraq
    3) The TSA
    4) Creation of the Dept. of Homeland Security…

    This is just another example of the Bush administration paradigm. Declare an emergency and bully the Congress to give what they want without any consideration or thought.

    There are many who say that Congress acts too slowly. I say, there are times when you want Congress to act slowly, to take some time to consider the issues and ramifications of their actions. This is one of those times. There’s no reason to believe that the financial community will panic and the economy will meltdown if they know that Congress will eventually act in a reasonable timeframe to address these problems. In the meantime, declare a bank holiday, freeze some transactions, let there be a cooling off period before we jump from the frying pan into the fire.

  42. I heard that’s over 5k for taxpayers? I have better things to do with that money than saving idiots who’ll never return the favor.

  43. tricky69 says:

    Check this BS out
    [www.dailykos.com]

    Bush and admin have been planning this out for months but they didn’t include the congress in on any of the discussion? Why is that? Why do they want this pushed down our throats so bad? Republicans and Democrats better read this shit and modify before passing it.

  44. SkokieGuy says:

    Getting it rammed through before elections is key, But also note that this Friday Congress goes on vacation (again), another reason to get this settled by this Friday.

    The fact that we are at war, the fact that we are facing the biggest economic crisis since the Depression, that’s no reason for our elected lawmakers to inconvenience themselves, it it?

    Exactly what type of crisis would be significant enough for someone in Washington to change their plans?

    I believe on the evening Hurricane Katrina hit, Condoleeza Rice was attending a performance of Spamalot.

    Bush has taken more vacations than any recent President and given fewer press conferences. After all, not too much going on, huh?

  45. giggitygoo says:

    This issue isn’t nearly as cut and dry as everyone seems to be making it out to be. I am absolutely disgusted with the government’s reckless spending and will be voting for candidates I think will best get the budget under control. However, decisions like these are not made in a vacuum. Not taking over the bad debt might in fact end up costing more. If the lending market crumbles, that means no new businesses or business expansions – meaning far higher unemployment and more people on government assistance. It also mean MUCH higher interest rates, which in turn steepens the housing crash and spikes foreclosures. So basically we could (emphasis on could) be looking at something that would be worth $1 trillion to buy our way out of. The primary questions are “Would this plan actually stop the bleeding?” and “Would the government get shares in the companies getting the bailout so that taxpayers may get back some/all/more of the money it put in?” This is definitely a case of trying to find the lesser of two evils, and not a simple government giveaway. (Unlike the disgusting farm bill that passed not so long ago) Unfortunately this situation is incredibly convoluted I’m not sure anyone can actually answer my first question.

  46. craptastico says:

    why is everyone blaming Bush for this? It’s when Clinton signed the Gramm Leach Billey act into law in 1999, repealing the Glass Steagall Act that this whole mess was made possible. The Glass Steagall Act was designed to prevent this by seperating commercial from investment banking. The act was bipartison legislature, so there’s plenty of blame for both sides of the aisle. Anyone blaming this on Bush is waaaay off base. The only way he contributed was by trying to get every American into their own home, which is unrealistic since many Americans don’t have the discipline to save and pay their bills

    • HIV 2 Elway says:

      @craptastico: Because blaming bush is trendier than the iphone.

    • tricky69 says:

      @craptastico:
      There is definitely enough blame to go around, but let’s evaluate what you said for just a minute. Your willing to blame Bill Clinton for signing a bill that the Republican congress and senate created, yet unwilling to blame anything on Bush? The bill that your referring to, was slipped a little something in secret by Phil Gramm that helped cause some of the problems today: [www.motherjones.com]
      Also, that same Phil Gramm blocked banking reform proposed by Bill Clinton to create more regulation for offshore banks that were being used by criminals and possibly terrorists. Remember Enron? They had over 900+ plus offshore accounts through dummy corporations to hide the money they made.
      Remember the problems with audit companies that collapsed in around 2000? That was caused by redoing SEC rules too allow conflict of interests work.
      The recent mortgage problems? Those created by MBS securities that congress and senate passed that allowed less and less oversight and/or regulations. I could go on and on but I want to highlight something with all these: the Republicans controlled both the house and senate for the past 14years. They were the ones passing these ridiculous laws based on their ideologies of free markets, blah blah…but the democrats aren’t blameless either – they were to scared and witless to do anything to stop it. And if the current trends continue the democrats will still lay on their backs just to not look bad.

      • papahoth says:

        @tricky69: And two out of three of Bush’s SEC picks have been worthless. Well the first one worthless, actually destructive and the last one worthless.

      • Counterpoint says:

        @tricky69: So it’s the Republican congress when there’s a democrat president, and the republican president when there’s a democrat congress. Gotcha…

        • tricky69 says:

          @Counterpoint: Did you fail to notice that the congress and senate was controlled by the republicans for the last 6 of 8 years of the Bush admin? That’s why I said 16 years. And that for the most part republicans have done more obstructive to the democrats in the past two years then the democrats have been in the past 16.

    • landsnark says:

      @craptastico: “It’s when Clinton signed the Gramm Leach Billey act into law in 1999″

      Yes *Gramm* Leach Billey Act, named after the author Phil Gramm, who is McCain’s economic advisor? I assume this means that you are not voting for McCain?

      • tricky69 says:

        @landsnark: So you didn’t really read what I wrote right? Gramm slipped in to the bill something that they had not agreed. No, I shall not be voting for McCain. Unfortunately, it always come down to the lesser evil, and in this case it’s Obama.

  47. Tijil says:

    I wrote to both of my senators about this, have you?

  48. RandomHookup says:

    Things must be pretty bad when the Jewish guy starts praying the Hail Mary.

  49. I think its funny the Dems are claiming monarchy and the Republicans are claiming socialism. We do need a little socialism to get us out of this, but we need, more than anything, regulation and oversight, which are two words I do not believe I will ever hear a Republican say.

    Paulson is out of his damn mind, but hey, he’s been hanging with Bush for what, 3 years? This sounds like a grab-and-run thing.

    I hope to God Obama’s first action as President is to subpoena all of Cheney’s records from the last 8 years, since he’ll no longer be able to hide behind branch nebulae.

    • papahoth says:

      @SpiderJerusalem: Imagine if it wasn’t Paulson and it was that worthless clown Snow still there? They ran off O’Neill since he actually tried to do his job. And I quote for those that seem to be forgetting the responsibility of this completely worthless administration.

      “O’Neill was appointed Secretary of the Treasury by George W. Bush. O’Neill was a somewhat outspoken member of the administration, often saying things to the press that went against the administration’s party line, and doing unusual things like taking a tour of Africa with singer Bono.

      A report commissioned in 2002 by O’Neill, while he was Treasury Secretary, suggested the United States faced future federal budget deficits of more than US$ 500 billion. The report also suggested that sharp tax increases, massive spending cuts, or both would be unavoidable if the United States were to meet benefit promises to its future generations. The study estimated that closing the budget gap would require the equivalent of an immediate and permanent 66 percent across-the-board income tax increase. The Bush administration left the findings out of the 2004 annual budget report published in February 2003.”

      “O’Neill harshly criticizes the President, blasting his economic policies and alleged “detachment” from the cabinet process. He described Bush’s behavior at cabinet meetings as being like “a blind man in a roomful of deaf people. There is no discernible connection.

      O’Neill was frustrated about what he perceived to be a lack of vigorous debate between administration officials and the formation of sound, coherent policy on the important issues. He longed for the return of the “Brandeis briefs” that were used in the Nixon and Ford administrations in which he had previously worked.”

  50. K J says:

    So my 401k has tanked, my home value has tanked, and now they want a blank check? That whole stimulus thing worked out so well, sure let’s try this.

    We the taxpayers are being mugged. Hand over your wallets. It’s for the good of the country. Let’s remember, THE GOVERNMENT HAS NO MONEY OF ITS OWN.

    Congress has been impotent for years, but if they let this thing pass, may God have mercy on us all.

  51. perruptor says:

    This stuff wasn’t supposed to happen until December. You know – after John (Mr. Deregulation) McCain got elected. The $700B is just the first installment, to make sure the fatcats don’t have to sell one of their houses to pay their yacht crews. After the election, The real bailing-out begins, so they can all buy their own countries and realize their dream of reviving slavery.

  52. BrianDaBrain says:

    This completely and utterly infuriates me. If something like this ever goes through, I’m moving to Canada or something. On a lighter note, the picture made me spew my drink all over my desk. Thanks, guys… both sarcastically and literally.

  53. tricky69 says:

    wow check this out

  54. MayorBee says:

    From [www.newsnet5.com]

    Kucinich wants to create a U.S. Mutual Trust Fund where every American taxpayer would be given $2,300 in shares of the companies that would benefit from the bailout.

    What’s wrong with this plan? We bail out the companies, we get a cut of the profits (if they start becoming profitable again). We give them something, we get something in return. IMO, it’s a lot more palatable than just giving them money with nothing in return, and would prevent the armageddon that Paulson is predicting.

  55. y2julio says:

    So since we would be bailing them out, then of course we receive a cut of profit from the bad debts if they turn profitable? Right?? Right?? No? Damn.

  56. TMurphy says:

    I just hope a good amount of this disgust is made loud enough our congressmen hear it. I’ll cast my first vote this November, but by the time I do that I may have already contacted my representatives multiple times.

  57. Rachacha says:

    I understand the concept behind the bailout, but the question is which is worse, the colapse of financial institutions who were stupid enough $1,000,000 loans to people earning $30,000 per year, or penalizing the taxpayers, the majority of who are smart enough to live within their means (or at least close to their means) by plunging the government deeper into debt which will force cutbacks in critical services and/or increase taxes just to hand money over to the corporations that made the mistakes.

    People make mistakes, I understand that, but hopefully there are consequences for those mistakes, and lessons to be learned. In this situation, a mistake was made, and the government will bail the financial institutions out which will only encourage the financial institutions to make the same mistakes over and over again.

  58. ageshin says:

    The money might be better spent helping out the people at the bottom and not those at the top of the economy. Stop the forclosures and set up a way that those who could lose their homes can stay and this will help the communities and the tax base they represent. Wall st. might need help, but there also needs to be consequenses for their behavior. Money should be move from the top, by this I mean that the people who most benefited from the financial madness should help fix it. Some should to jail with no two hundred dollars. I don’t trust anything that is supported by the Bush admin. Sen. Berny Sanders has some good ideas on what is to be done. Check it out.

  59. ARP says:

    @Mfalconieri: Yes, I would update your comment that you did not mean that you would shoot the president. Remember the general rule, even joking about it gets you a visit from the Secret Service.

  60. Fist-o™ says:

    Wow, seems pretty unanimous across the board: THIS IS A DUMB IDEA. We need to inform our congressmen ASAP that WE DO NOT WANT THEM TO PASS THIS LEGISLATION!!!!