What are we getting for our 700 billion dollars? 20

That would be my first question of Henry “Hank” Paulson as he tries to railroad this country into a bad deal.  Those would be quickly followed by a few others:  Who’s getting fired?  Who’s going to jail?  What regulations will be put in place to ensure that Wall Street won’t do this again in 10 years?

Where’s the beef, Henry?

I watched Paulson over the weekend and he reminded me of Martin Short as a big oil spokesman in Saturday Night Live.  The original one of him speaking for the cigarette companies is closer to the mark for Hank, but you get the idea.  He never answered a single question Snuffleupagus asked him on Sunday morning.  Just mumbled stuff that didn’t really mean anything, as if the type of people watching that program aren’t savvy enough to see through his bullshit.

It was insulting, really.  At least send someone out to pull the wool over our eyes that knows how to really sell it.  It took Colin Powell to sell the Iraq War.  We should have at least gotten Greenspan to sell this shit.  At least he is coherent and doesn’t inspire more uncertainty with ever word he utters.  I am even more worried now that I know the caliber of the clowns in charge of these things.

Hank used to be CEO of Golman Sachs for fuck’s sake and that is the best he can do?

Looks like the October surprise came a few weeks early this year and should help Obama more than hurt him.  So far, he is the only one I can find who has talked about applying a rigid structure to this bailout plan.  Barack has addressed four key points that must be part of any plan he supports.

Not like Dodd and Schumer who are trying to ram this shit through Congress based on chimeras.

So I ask again to anyone out there who can explain it better than Barack has already done, linking bailouts to specific plans, and instead give me a reason why a total, no-strings-attached bailout is the right thing for American tax payers?  I also want to know why we shouldn’t socialize the profits of these companies we save if we are being forced to absorb their losses?  Why should millionaires and billionaires walk away with barely a scratch while We The People get screwed?

When are we going to envision, enable and enforce standards of conduct that are in line with the long-term interests of our country?

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20 thoughts on “What are we getting for our 700 billion dollars?

  • Orlando

    Insulting? You bet! Especially when Paulson said (with a straight face) that individuals who took out mortgages they couldn’t afford should be held accountable while suggesting that taxpayers foot the bill for at least $700 billion for corporations that placed bets they couldn’t afford to lose.

    I just heard a report that President Bush said that not acting fast on the bailout could have dire consequences “beyond Wall Street.”

    Call me paranoid, but when the man that was up until a couple of months ago talking about how great the economy was suddenly wants a blank check for $700 billion and wants to rush it through without much though, I want to know what the underlying motive is.

    • JasonEverettMiller

      Exactly right. These guys have a history of lying their asses off to enrich their friends. It has been a gluttony unseens since the Gilded Age. Now we are to believe them, based on zero evidence, that we are on the brink of catastrophe?

      I remain skeptical as does Obama and many conservative commentators.

      If Barack has seen the “evidence” and still advocates for a more calm and rational approach, then perhaps we should think twice about offering a blank check. It also offers a chance to use the leverage of We The People to gets some progressive policy fixes into place so we don’t have the same shit happen in ten years with whatever the next bubble brings to the surface.

      Slow is fast when it comes to huge issues like this.

      • Orlando

        I’m listening to the Diane Rehm show on NPR right now and they just said that over the weekend, the lobbyists somehow managed to convince the Treasury Dept to change the plan from including mortgage assets to including ANY assets. If you could see me, you would probably notice the steam coming out of my ears. The more they talk, the more pissed off I get. Please GOD, let the democrats grow a spine on this one.

        • Orlando

          And speaking of Diane Rehm, a caller just posed a question that I’ve been wondering about all weekend: Why not pay off the primary mortgages that are causing the problem in the first place? That would free up lots of money that consumers would spend, which would jump start the economy.

          • Orlando

            One last comment from the Diane Rehm show…one of the guests (sorry, don’t know who it was) said at the end that he thinks what the Bush administration is trying to do is to create a sense of panic to stampede a piece of bad legislation through congress.

            I agree.

          • JasonEverettMiller

            That’s how the first Depression was started and with the same end goal – deflate the value of the market and bad investments, buying all of it back at fire sale prices later. That is exactly what Hank is advocating. We The People take the loss and they buy back the debt they offloaded at five cents on the dollar.

          • Orlando

            I can’t pretend to have more than an extremely basic understanding of economics, but it doesn’t smell right.

          • JasonEverettMiller

            I don’t claim to know much more than broad strokes, but these types of crashes seem to always benefit a select group of people – those like Hank Paulson. and company.

          • TX in IN

            Wht not just re-write these mortgages so that these homeowners can pay them ? Some money is better than no money and you would avoid the all the costs involved with a foreclosure.

            PS. I would also do away with those damn ARM’s – the minute the interest goes up, people get in trouble with making their mortgage payment.

  • Synchronicity

    Yes apparently we will buy a bunch of worthless paper for $700 billion dollars and we will be lucky to get 5 cents on the dollar for the stuff in it. Cars, boats, house loans, etc. all at Paulson’s discretion if he has his way. It’s outrageous.
    I heard Paulson on Fox ‘News’ and he basically said he had to let things ‘get’ this bad in order to make the proposal he has made. I don’t believe him when he says he doesn’t want to do this. I feel like this is a financial scheme with the ‘dire’ part being played out by Neocon partnerships. I do not trust Paulson. He said he didn’t know if his plan would work. He wants ‘absolute’ authority and I have no reason to trust him or this adminstration. When I hear senators and congressmen say that they trust Paulson… I feel very disturbed. This adminstration has perpetrated so much crime against the american people that there is no way our congress should give them this awesome power. Some action may be necessary but I demand a better plan!
    Please write the senate and house banking committees as well as individuals and be ‘squeaky wheels’.

  • theCleverBulldog

    Gov’t caused this disaster by pressuring banks to loan money to people not qualified otherwise. Reno and Gorelick threatened lawsuits over ‘red lining’ if more sub prime loans were not issued. Fannie and Freddie, under the leadership of Obama adviser Raines and protected from republican attempts at reform by Frank and Dodd, bought hundreds of billions in sub prime loans. In the end though, it is the result of people not paying back what they borrowed. Millions got loans they couldn’t afford, gambling that values would go up. When they didn’t they bailed on the loans. That’s where the real blame lies. It’s just not popular to blame people instead of ‘wall street’.

    • Ohia

      CleverBulldog, if this is not snark and you truly believe what you are saying, then I am willing to bet that your Mother still balances your checkbook.

    • quinn esq

      And THAT’S… the WRONG answer! Buzzzzzz!

      By the way, how was the GOP Convention? Share a few “cosmopolitans” with yer buds?

      You fake.

    • Eastern_Media_Elite

      Get it straight!

      Raines is NOT an Obama adviser in any shape or form.

      Fannie and Freddie were private entities and were solely responsible for all business decisions including the types of loans approved and packaging of these loans to be secularized. The government had no part in this and so could not apply any sort of pressure because of the deregulated markets.

      Lastly, Wall Street alone is to blame for the billions of worthless financial instruments based on these sub-prime home loans they conjured out of thin air because they explicitly or implicitly accepted the risk that came with these loans.

      Wall Streets failure to properly assess the risks of the underlying loans on these financial instruments they invented falls squarely on them and no one else.

      • JasonEverettMiller

        Exactly right.

        The mortgage lenders developed ridiculous terms that would almost force people to default and then beg for a bailout when what they proposed and executed brings about the foreclosures that could have been predicted by anyone with a brain cell to spare for ten seconds.

        You want to lend to people with spotty credit but a decent job that is one thing. Give them decent rates of return in a simple and straightforward manner and then keep and service the loan.

        It was the strategies developed and employed by the mortgage lenders that created this mess. Not to mention a whole lot of greed and hubris.

  • cheesenstein

    The Dodd counter-proposal is basically a venture capital type of restructuring investment, as any VC worth his or her salt would insist on for such a large distressed asset.

    The late-stage investor who assumes all the risk here should be the FIRST investor (well before the employees and executives!) who get to benefit from any upside.

    That’s because we’re the ones (i.e., the American people) who are footing the bill after the fact.

    • JasonEverettMiller

      Dodd has certainly changed his tune a little bit from the frightened little boy who came on TV over the weekend.

      His spine stiffened up and now he seems to at least be applying some deliberation to the process. That was my main complaint.

      This new proposal sounds more in line with what I would call a fair bailout.