Saturday, September 20, 2008

Crimes and no punishment

Update: As I've gathered my thoughts, I have a more cogent post up at Detroit News, No way. No how. No bailout. What really set me off is this provision in the terms of the bailout.
"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."
So not only are we supposed to hand over a blank check, we're not allowed any oversight in how they pass out the bucks. If Congress passes this, then I'm really ready to throw the whole lot of them out.

Original Post:

As the shock begins to wear off and I'm assessing the situation as best I can with my limited knowledge of macro-economics, I'm wondering where's the penalty part of the bailout equation? Best as I can I figure, they're going to bail out the perps whose criminal negligence and unfettered greed caused the mess and no one is going to be held responsible. Bush is gravely asking for a blank check for 700 billion tax dollars and what do the taxpayers get out of it, except a load of backbreaking debt?

No money for homeowners, no money to help victims of natural disasters, no money for national health care insurance, no money to rebuild our infrastructure and create jobs, no money for any social programs but the Bush regime can suddenly find billions to bail out the biggest mismanagers in the business world and still fund the ongoing folly in Iraq.

I try to avoid the f-bomb here, but Atrios puts it so succinctly, that I'm going to quote him anyway.
Any member of Congress who looks at the plan to give Hank unchecked power to transfer $700 billion from the Treasury to his friends' companies and has any reaction other than "You've got to be fucking kidding me" does not deserve to hold office.
I have nothing to add to that except this from John Cole.
"I do not ever want to hear another damned word about the free market. I don't want to hear another thing about letting the market regulate itself. I don't want to hear about the free flow of capital. I don't want to hear about government getting out of our lives. None of it. From superfunds to super-bailouts, I am tired of other people getting rich being irresponsible and then being told I have to pay to clean it up. I didn't read one punitive aspect of this new plan. Not one punishment for the people who did this."
Exactly the point. They didn't want to bail out homeowners who were tricked into houses they couldn't afford by aggressive predatory lenders because it would encourage bad behavior. The implication being the little guy has to take his lumps to learn his lesson.

So where's the equivalency here for the big guys who screwed it all up? No matter how much money they lose, they won't be homeless. They won't worry about how to pay their bills or maintain their health insurance payments. At worst, they may have to sell one of their Hummers and give up a fancy vacation to some exotic locale this fall. Hell, rock bottom for these people would look like a huge step up for most of the working class.

Before the government asks us to pay, these people should have to kick in their ill-gotten gains first.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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3 Comments:

Blogger danps said...

Hi Libby. Funny enough I broke my own f-bomb moratorium over here.

6:37:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Some days it's the only word that fits Dan.

6:50:00 PM  
Blogger ECOPHOTOS said...

"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."

Sheesh! Good for you, Libby, in pointing this out. I wonder, however, if this provision would pass muster in the courts (not that I advocate passing a law and challenging odious provisions later).
In principle, I DO support a bailout. Here's why:

The entire economy ... no, I take that back ... the entire Global economy moves on credit: businesses, contractors, home owners, car buyers, etc., etc. The liquidity crisis threatens to dry up all credit, thus bringing the entire global economy to a screeching halt. When the wheels of industry cease to move: Massive layoffs, goods no longer shipped to market, no food in the stores, no jobs, no money, NOTHING!

As odious as this bailout might seem, the risk of a global-wide shutdown of credit markets would be too terrible to contemplate.

A better bill, YES! With debt relief for homeowners, YES! Prosecution for misfeasance, YES! But we also need this bailout. There are no other options.

8:28:00 PM  

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