Thursday, September 25, 2008

Congress Passes Wall Street Relief Act of 2008

At a news conference held a short time ago, a bi-partisan claque of Congressional leaders stood before cameras to declare, “We have a bailout!” Let the puff of white smoke rise from the Capitol’s chimney.

Except none of them said exactly what is in the deal. How much money are we putting on the table? What kind of controls, other than some vague comments about an “oversight” group, is written into the measure? How much will compensation of Wall Street CEOs and other executives be regulated? Will besieged, hard pressed, home owners be spared from mortgage defaults and repossessions?

Who, besides Wall Street barons, will benefit from The Wall Street Relief Act of 2008?

Most importantly, since Hank Paulson – Goldman Sach’s $34-million a year guy at Treasury and a true man of Wall Street – is going bail us all out of the financial disaster visited upon us by Wall Street, exactly how will we know to whom he’s handing out our money, on what terms and at what price?

Details, son, just details. Mere trifles.

Trust us, they proclaimed solemnly. This is a good deal. We’ve saved America from disaster.

Trust us, the Congressional leadership said this afternoon, overlooking the fact that these were basically the same people who said “trust us” when they passed the (un)Patriot Act, the Iraq War resolution and the authorization for the NSA (and God only knows who else) to spy on all of us.

Once again, Congress drank the George Bush Kool-Aid. After all, he stood in the White House last night and used words like “Great Depression” and “panic” and calamity. So, Congress rolled over on its back and did the bidding of a man who us believed by less than 20% of America.

If you're ready to buy this deal from a trusted used war salesman like George W. Bush, his cronies on Wall Street and the panicky leaders of Congress then, as Joe Galloway said, I have a deal for you on a bridge to nowhere.

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