Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Paulson bailout plan

Nothing really new here, but I just saw the actual text of the Paulson plan, and this struck me:
"Sec. 6. Maximum Amount of Authorized Purchases.
The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time."

That's a lot of zeros, and a lot of authority for one person.

The other thing that struck me is just how simple the plan is -- the draft is only a couple of pages long. And yet, even though the plan came out last week, McCain admitted that he hadn't actually had time to read it until Tuesday. (It was available to anyone on the web -- Oh yeah, that might help explain it.) This must have been the same day that McCain started planning to suspend his campaign, drop out of the debate, fly to DC, and use his Magical Bipartisan Pixie Dust to save the negotiations over the bailout bill. Negotiations that were already moving along pretty well without him, particularly since he doesn't sit on the Senate Banking Committee.

With McCain's suspension announcement, and the most recent Palin-Couric interview, it's starting to get a bit ridiculous.

(Hat tip: TPM)


Bryan Koenig said...

Only a little bit ridiculous? I'll admit I am cynical and jaded, but Jiminy Crickett won't shut up about how far the American political system has come from Mr. Smith's forays to Washington. The mighty haven't fallen, they've leaped from the clouds into the mud where it means nothing to stay clean, the only thing that matters is if you can get the other guy even dirtier than you.

A person's actions have absolutely nothing to do with their electability, the one and only thing that matters is perception, and so long as you can fasten the wool tight enough, you can do or not as you please. People will read that John McCain is fighting the good economic fight and not bother to realize he's throwing gloves for show and nothing else.

There doesn't seem to be any content left in Washington whatsoever, only empty words and hollow promises. Words, not actions. It doesn't really matter what McCain and Palin say they will do, and Obama and Biden are certainly not exempt, because the odds of them doing even a proportion of what they promise are slim to none. The fact of the matter is that my vote for Obama is simply because I put him in the slim category while McCain ends up in the none.

Acrobat said...

I'd like to know more about the alternative offered by House Republicans today, seeking tax reform to stimulate private investment, rather than a public bailout. What type of tax changes will incentivize a $700B purchase of shitty assets? (Can I say "shitty" here?)

I know everyone is pushing urgency, but there's widespread mistrust of Administration economists. I'd like to see a nonpartisan (or at least bipartisan) pool of respected economists weighing in on proposals.