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Bush’s Bailout Update

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An overriding theme to the Bush Presidency was reading after decisions were made that nobody thought Bush would do X.  Usually, that meant people just couldn’t fathom how Bush didn’t send enough troops to invade and occupy Iraq; how Bush didn’t prepare for Katrina or half a dozen other hurricanes, despite good forecasts of those storms; and on and on they go.  What’s the latest?  Why, Bush’s Bailout of his Wall St. buddies, of course.  I opposed the Bailout from the beginning, because just like the run-up to the Iraq invasion, Bush wasn’t providing enough information to accurately assess whether a real problem even existed.  In both cases, no problem existed.  But Democrats sure keep jumping around to keep him happy.  And even if they were going to do it again, couldn’t Democrats at least make sure that serious oversight was available for the biggest Bailout in history?  Of course not – that wouldn’t have been bipartisan.  Or something.  With no real oversight, what could possibly happen to the taxpayers’ money?

Well, executives will continue to earn their disgusting large compensations, despite running their corporations into the ground so far they had to beg the government to socialize their losses.

lawmakers included a mechanism for reviewing executive compensation and penalizing firms that break the rules.

But at the last minute, the Bush administration insisted on a one-sentence change to the provision, congressional aides said. The change stipulated that the penalty would apply only to firms that received bailout funds by selling troubled assets to the government in an auction, which was the way the Treasury Department had said it planned to use the money.

This is about the most clear-cut, simple example why Democrats shouldn’t yield an inch to Bush: he’ll take a mile.

In a reversal, the Bush administration has not used auctions for any of the $335 billion committed so far from the rescue package, nor does it plan to use them in the future. Lawmakers and legal experts say the change has effectively repealed the only enforcement mechanism in the law dealing with lavish pay for top executives.

First, this is more proof this wasn’t the crisis Bush tried to convince Americans it was.  His administration had worked on this bill for months, waiting for the best time to introduce it.  His administration clearly thought of the numerous ways in which Democrats were likely to try to enforce things and developed strategies to get around them.  Democrats agreed to the small change.  Now, executives can rip Americans off even more.  I want to challenge people to think about this a little differently, Democratic voters especially.  Do you really think Democrats were bamboozled on this?  Would they benefit at all from agreeing to the change?  The alternative is that Democrats are just plain stupid – too stupid to think Bush would nix the enforcement at the first opportunity.  No, I’m betting it’s the former – they think they’re receiving some kind of benefit from what they had to have known would be a subversion of the weak mechanism included in the bill.  Why else would Democrats feel no urgency to correct this matter?  $335 billion have been used in ways that were not authorized by legislation.  That violates Constitutional boundaries of use of power.  Instead of correcting this, I bet Democrats are instead working to benefit from the situation themselves.  Future actions, even those taken after Jan. 20th, will indicate whether Democrats were complicit or stupid.  I don’t see much room for any other alternative.

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