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Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Time Event
6:41p
Another Post-disaster Power Grab
One of the most distressing things about this administration is its
continual quest for dictatorial power. This appears again in the draft
plan for the Treasury bailout of companies holding poor-quality mortgage
securities. Besides giving the Treasury Secretary enormously broad
discretionary powers as to what securities the Treasury will buy and
what to do with them (including farming out to private contractors), the
proposal includes this:

Sec. 8. Review.
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.

This is extraordinary. The Bush administration keeps trying to pull this
crap, and why? In this case, it gives the Treasury Secretary (and, by
extension, his boss, the President) total arbitrary power to reward
friends and leave foes twisting in the wind. If a company is a good
Republican contributor, even if they don't necessarily need a bailout,
let's buy their debt at a good price and firm up their profit margin and
bottom line. If the company coming begging has not been contributing
toward the plan for a permanent Republican majority, the Secretary may
decide not to buy their bonds, leaving them to crash. Speculation?
Possibly, but if Bush and Co. weren't at least considering some such
nefarious crap, why demand this kind of immunity? If you are planning to
be all open and aboveboard, why not permit review and let the chips fall
where they may?

When are people going to get it that reasonable government
regulation=good, and laissez faire market=bad? Since the days of the
Great Reagan Deregulation, we've seen wave after wave of bubble and
collapse, as bright people in the financial markets, driven by greed or
just their faith in their own cleverness, push each new strategy to the
breaking point. We had the Savings and Loan meltdown of the late 1980's
(due to bad debt--), the various insider trading and junk bond scandals,
the Enron mess and the spate of similar corporate malfeasance cases at
Adelphi, WorldCom, etc., and now this.

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