Someone in D.A.’s thread asked who, if anyone, had changed their minds about the bill considering the stock market crash. I haven’t. At least, not about that bill, which is not a fix but simply more poison disguised as a fix.

Speaking of which…

  • Now the fucking weasels are trying to send an even worse ball of shit through the Senate. New and improved with tax cuts! Way to totally buy into the McFrame that tax cuts are the way to go to fix the economy, Harry! Sure, the expert bargainers in the Dem caucus got some disaster relief and renewable energy credits, and bumping the FDIC limit is something that needs done, but otherwise, it’s still a pile of crapola. Tax cuts. Jesus.
  • How to make received opinion-spewing, elitist, Wall Street whores to either go ‘buh buh buh’ or tell another, bigger, lie. Fun!
  • Ok, fine. If something must be done, then insist that Congress take the time and make the effort (which party, I ask, is in the fucking majority?) to make a better bill. It’s not the Rethugs’ way or the highway; stop acting as if it is. Explore the alternatives to giving compulsive gamblers a 700$ billion dollar check.
  • I’m really tired of the blackmail. I expect it from wingnuts. I hope (that awful word) for a little bit more from liberals. Yes, I know the middle class will hurt because of this. But for one thing, they are gonna hurt inevitably (there’s just no painless cure for this much cancer in the market, and this tumor has been growing, as it were, since the tech bubble); for another thing, well, you know, a huge amount of people have been hurting for a long time. People have been living in tent cities for a while now, but because of the stock crash, I’m supposed to cry because GM can’t get loans.
  • Leave it to Hopey to go beyond blackmail: “For the rest of today and as long as it takes, I will continue to reach out to leaders in both parties and do whatever I can to help pass a rescue plan,” he added. “To the Democrats and Republicans who opposed this plan yesterday, I say — step up to the plate and do what’s right for this country.” Yes, yes: why do people who oppose coughing up 700$ billion in corporate welfare hate America? [Troll prophylactic: yes, I’m still voting for him. Hope, Change, blah blah blah.]
  • DeLong sez: “[R]aze the Republican Party to the ground. Plough it under. Scatter salt in the furrows so it can never grow back.” Yes.
  • Wingnuts, when not blaming the crisis on minorities, are blaming it on Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, cuz they wuz part of teh guvmint! And sure enough, the ol’ guvmint-drowner himself, Grover Norquist, has been ritin’ letters to Dear Leader. Iaiaiaian Murray, after a bit of the Lysenkoist-inspired paranoia for which he is famed by wingnuts, paid by Exxon, and ridiculed by moonbats (he imagines a relationship between Hank Paulson’s belief in global warming and his desire to bailout Wall Street), reports that Norquist “has just written to the President asking him to repeal the Clinton era regulations that caused the expansion of CRA-type lending, direct the SEC to make mark-to-market voluntary for stressed assets and direct the Treasury Secretary to determine that capital basis can be adjusted for inflation by taxpayers.” Scapegoating minorities, plus more glibertarianism: there’s the cure!
  • Rich Lowry gets funny emails in the same “free market” vein:

    The eroded value of these assets is almost solely a function, we all agree, of declining home prices. Those of us who begrudgingly concede a role for our financial authorities beyond the Fed’s not insignificant power to inject liquidity into the system are finding it hard to see how the bailout addresses the fundamental problem. Indeed, it doesn’t even purport to, except to the extent that home prices will trend up with the economy. Why not have the government simply buy homes at foreclosure and raze them? The Freddie/Fannie subsidy of bad mortgages caused an oversupply; the government will simply be eliminating that mistake. No moral hazard, no increase in government’s authority, no subsidies to firm’s taking excessive risks, and an idea that more effectively addresses the problem’s cause – what’s not to like?

Finally, these deserve another viewing:

Crap! They won’t embed. Anyway, here are the links: Bird & Fortune: Financial Advisor and on the Subprime Morals of the Free Market Mind.


Comments: 65


Wingnuts, when not blaming the crisis on minorities, are blaming it on Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac,

Don’t forget teh gays!


Wait’ll the people with no money get blamed for runs on the banks.


Here’s something to cheer you up, from the Ole Perf:

DEMANDING A SARAH PALIN PRESS CONFERENCE: Sure, bring it on — right after Obama takes questions from Bob Owens, Stanley Kurtz, David Freddoso, the Powerline guys, and Hugh Hewitt on the Bill Ayers/Annenberg business.

Oh, and maybe a discussion of his Columbia and Harvard transcripts. Only one candidate is being sheltered from tough press questions with the active complicity of the press.

Yeah! Confederate Wankoff vs. Barack Obama! I’m sure that’ll be a win for the wingnuts.


“Are you gonna see to it mah grill gets fixed?”


Ah, D.N., see above. We actually discovered that independently …


Bah! Fuck all this! This country is getting what it fucking deserves and let’s just revel in the misery! WHY NOT?

Let’s be like those bloody old geezers from Slade and just have a good old Rock & Roll hoedown while our stupid fucking government and economy melt down right before our eyes!


Compulsive gambler

Say, I owe my bookie, like $70 trillion and he wants a $700 bn payment RIGHT FUCKING NOW or he’ll burn my house down! So, y’know, if you could front me that cash, I can take it from there.

BTW – would you mind dropping me off downtown? There’s a card game where I’m certain I can double my money before I go meet the bookie.


Why not have the government simply buy homes at foreclosure and raze them? The Freddie/Fannie subsidy of bad mortgages caused an oversupply; the government will simply be eliminating that mistake. No moral hazard, no increase in government’s authority, no subsidies to firm’s taking excessive risks, and an idea that more effectively addresses the problem’s cause – what’s not to like?

Lowry prints this email without comment. Is this a sick joke or does he think it’s a good idea?


I still think this thing needs to be seen as not one, but TWO shitpiles. The primary shitpile, is, of course, the real-estate bubble itself. The secondary, separate and FAR LARGER shitpile consists of all the CDOs and CDSes and do-be-do-be-do of pretty much imaginary value that was constructed using the primary shitpile as a foundation.

So, what the Paulson plan seems to do is to make this secondary shitpile seem like it has actual value by spraying it with Chanel No. 5. The problem, of course, is that, the Chanel will eventually wear off and we’ll have to buy more Chanel and spray the fucking thing again. And again. And again.

The Dark Avenger

The suggestion is right out of Heinleins’ The Door into Summer, but you can’t expect Rich Lowry to have a entirely sane readership.

Amy Alkon's Testicles

Hopefully not too far off-topic, but where can I get me some of those troll prophylactics? These shitmoats of mine are woefully inadequate for my needs.


I agree with the blackmail thing. I posted a nice, sane, rational analysis of the takehome lessons from this crisis, and almost immediately got a “You don’t understand! Stop being so punitive! If we don’t get a bailout, ‘millions of innocent people will be hurt’.” Hurt how? (‘Course, there was nothing in that entry that was punitive at all; I saved that for the one three entries previous.) Maybe I’m dumb (no), but I’m kind of not seeing how we get from “major commercial banks failing because of rank stupidity” to “Great Depression Mk. 2.”

If you’re talking layoffs, why are these putative companies so undercapitalised that they need credit from major commercial lenders to bridge the gap between their AP and their AR? And if they’re that undercapitalised, it’s only a matter of time before they fail anyway, and you’d have to be a fuckin’ eedjit not to see that.

And I can’t believe how well the sympathy ploy is working on some people. I was just talking to a friend last night who was all sympathetic because the 80-some-year-old founder of AIG had gone from having a net worth of $3B to…”well, he’s not penniless, but all he’s got, really, is his house.” (Which is worth how much?!) Christ, if we can’t get working-class Canadians not to sympathise with billionaires who’ve suddenly become millionaires, I don’t know. I just don’t know.

At this point, I’m about half a step away from “Fuck you. The unemployment rate for disabled people where I live is 28% when the unemployment rate for the able-bodied (now) is 6%. I’m living in the equivalent of a fortified castle, financially, and, well, if being sporadically unemployed and utterly broke and occasionally homeless and living in vermin-infested tenement slums for another decade is what I have to do to watch the whole thing crash and burn, you go on and bring it right the fuck on. I’ve had practice at living on less than no money, so bring it, you entitled fucks. While you were busy trying to get rich doing fucking illegal and stupid things, I was getting a comprehensive education on how to be poor, decoupling myself from the mainstream economy as much as possible, assembling a crisis-resistant life for myself, and building a business that doesn’t run on credit, bullshit, and scams. So sorry for you, but if you’d been fucking listening to people like me when we were saying ‘Deregulation is evil,’ ‘Speculation is evil,’ ‘No, I don’t want to get involved in the stock market because it’s built on more bullshit than a manure pile,’ maybe you wouldn’t be in this mess now.” Yeah, I’m a little angry.


Interrobang, you speak for me and you do such a better job of it too. I saw the headline that tax cuts were included in the lastest version of the shit sandwich and I thought WTF is WRONG with these idiots?


Troll prophylactic: yes, I’m still voting for him. Hope, Change, blah blah blah

He damn near lost my vote by using the horrible business cliche “step up to the plate.” I hate that goddamn phrase.


I hate seeing Obama tack so hard to the ‘middle’ (which is actually pretty far right.)

I’m about to dust off my 2000 Nader proclivities.


Dear Mr. Mencken,

‘Twas I, your humble servant, who asked that question. You may not have noticed that I refined the question mere moments later but I am none the less satisfied to find that your position is not of the ‘no action required, damnit’ variety.

So, like, are you short on drugs or something? You’re gonna have a heart attack. Shall I send you some “Mr. Mellow” pills from my stash?


Well, in fact I did change my mind … from very-reluctantly Pro to increasingly-angrier Anti.

PROTIP: When your first piece-of-shit proposal gets shot down in flames, coming back with an even lousier plan may not be the most cunning move in the book.

The Mother Of All Ratfucks is on hold … now it needs to be thrown into a nice clean body-bag. Voters should be telling Obama that if he keeps pimping for this garbage, he’ll wind up being the last Democratic POTUS ever, because his party will self-destruct from inside – he needs to think about the implications of succeeding where Rove failed in that regard. NEITHER major party has any high regard among Americans anymore, see Congress’ popularity-ratings for details.

Nationalize the shitpile & turn it into a make-work project for all the struggling MBAs & undergrads – it’ll take years to pick the gold-nuggets out of the septic-tank, but at least that way, lower-class Yankees don’t get stuck paying Ferrari-prices for a lot full of Gremlins.

Slap a bloody moratorium on foreclosures – America has too many homeless NOW & not enough aid, & housing-prices can use the boost that’d come from renegotiated mortgages being paid up, instead of the obscene spectacle of legions of homes slowly but surely rotting away (even at legal-theft bargain-rates) with nobody able to pony up the down-payment.

You wanna talk prophylaxis? Get some of these “MoneySluts, Inc.” gimme-gimme sociopaths into psychiatric treatment &/or prison-cells, NOW – the global economy really can’t afford any more of the Charlie-Manson-School-Of-Economics approach at this point. Big brokerages ought to be required to test for psych-disorders as part of their licensing process.

The current economic predicate is going to create more & more of these SNAFUs, & they’re going to be bigger & harder to survive every time, because of the not-very-swift “logic” being used to maintain the “Metaststic Tumor” model our economy is based on. The time when “Captains Of Industry, Ltd.” could look forward to new frontiers to rape & pillage is over. Get the world’s brainiacs together to start hashing out how to set up & run a sustainable equilibrium-based economy … because without it we’re ALL going to be terminally fucked in about 10 years, if that. The global-resource pie is as big as it’ll ever be right now – sadly, the same cannot be said for population or consumption. If we just keep leaving the status-quo in play, THAT “correction” is going to be unbelievably horrific.

It’s going to take an awful lot more than BushCo cutting a big check to fix the mess we’re all in now. We ALL screwed the pooch – & we’re ALL going to be raising the puppies.


Why not have the government simply buy homes at foreclosure and raze them?

What’s sad about this is that it’s the same argument sensible people make about the drug crops in Colombia, Afghanistan, etc.: we would be better off buying the coca or opium at market and destroying it right then and there, so the growers can then plant something useful (like food) and the trafficking networks die from lack of supply.

Leave it to the wingnuts to mess this up on two fronts . . .


The problem is that plenty of Democrats are just as invested (if you will) as the Republicans in ‘free market principles’ like making sure that really wealthy people can behave irresponsibly without consequence.

Better Democrats, please.

dim-witted badger

Hey, Democrats! I’m going to say this once. (That’s a total lie. I’m going to repeat it ad nauseam)

This is the fucking October surprise.

Don’t buy in to a Republican shitpile that they concocted just for you, so they can run against it.
Don’t pass laws that do nothing for the real causes of the problem.
Don’t put lipstick on the fucking pig of a Paulson plan by writing in irrelevant and unenforceable cosmetic changes, and then expect any of your thinking constituents to believe you ever again.
Don’t further deregulate the very businesses that are failing from being given too much rope in the first place, re: zero bank reserves.

Put together a real solution. One that doesn’t just fling bags of meth at jonesing hookers.
Put actual, enforceable regulation into effect.
If they really need to spend a bunch of money to fix this, and they will, give it to them piecework, and make them justify every fucking cent up front. Do not give them the opportunity to do the ol’ Iraqi contractor shrug and say “Wull, I don’t know where all the monet went…”, ’cause you know they will.

In short, fuck this. Do not listen to what the fucking Republicans and their minions tell you is good for you. When the fuck was the last time that actually was good?

Preview looks awful, but I’m going to try it anyway.


Anyone have a firm idea of what this new plan is? I looked at the Dodd plan from last week and it had many of the right elements. in particular the equity stake in return for the rescue. It had provision for warrants for discounted common stock and so on. I’d like to know if that shit is still in the Senate version.

Who said “Politics is the art of the possible?” Point being, in order to get anything, the D’s have to let the R’s put in some of their kleptocrat freebies or nothing will ever happen. Sad but that’s the way it works. So, who has the details?


McCain: “Let’s not call it a bailout”

The Bush White House is now complaining that the media has unfairly labeled the $700-billion bailout bill as a … bailout. Sen. John McCain, also chafing at the “b” word, is suggesting, “Let’s not call it a bailout.”

From CNN today: “The first thing I’d do is say, Let’s not call it a bailout,” McCain said this morning. “Let’s call it a rescue. Because it is a rescue of Main Street America…”

Dig yourself a little deeper, McFool.


I looked at the Dodd plan from last week and it had many of the right elements.

Keep talking like that and you’ll spoil all the masochistic fun of beating your head against the dead horse of the misbegotten Paulson Plan (eeeevil! eeeeeevil!).


Also, it seems like those terrible horrible no-good very bad Tax Cutz include things like… alternative energy. See this FleetAdmiralJ diary on DailyKos.


Yes, Flip, I know I shouldn’t actually READ the bill before I get all spastic about it. I can’t help it, I’m the same way with books and movies. I’m a lousy masochist.


FlipYrWhig, not to throw a wet towel on you BUT…

The $700 billion (ultimately $1 trillion or more) bailout is not predominantly for mortgages and homeowners. Instead, the bailout is for mortgage-backed securities. In fact, some versions of these instruments are imaginary derivatives. These claims overlap on the same types of mortgages. Many financial institutions wrote claims over the same mortgages, and these are the majority of claims that have “gone bad.”

Let the poorly managed, overly risk-taking financial institutions fail! Always remember that Wall Street and the real economy are not the same thing.,8599,1845209,00.html?cnn=yes


The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission probably will resist calls to suspend the fair-value accounting rules that some members of Congress blame for exacerbating the global financial crisis, people familiar with the matter said.


U.S. private payrolls dip 8,000 in September
Payrolls at U.S. companies shrank by 8,000 jobs last month, after losing a larger-than-previously-thought 37,000 jobs in August, ADP Employment Services said today in its monthly report


Another reason not to flip out about the tax cuts: they’re not really being added onto the bailout at all. Rather, the bailout is getting stuck onto a tax cut package that already passed last week by a 93-2 margin.


Labeled as a Bailout, Plan Was Hard to Sell to a Skeptical Public


More shenanigans:

S.E.C. Move May Relax Asset Rule
Under pressure from banks and legislators, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued an interpretation of an accounting standard that could make it easier for banks to report smaller losses, or perhaps even profits, when they announce results for the third quarter, which ended Tuesday.

The move on Tuesday drew praise from the American Bankers Association, which had complained to the S.E.C. that auditors were forcing banks to value assets at unrealistically low “fire sale” prices, rather than at the higher values the banks believe the assets should be worth in an orderly market.


It’s a bunch of bullshit. They’re still trying to cram it up our asses again even though, by their original logic, because it didn’t pass last week, Wall street should look like its Escape From NY counterpart and we all should currently be sitting around the hobo fire fighting the rats for our beans.

It was a bad bill when Hank first said “Your money or your life.” It was still a bad bill when the House said “Well, okay, but only if we can make it look like we’re holding you back.” It’s still a bad fucking bill when the Senate says “Hey, let’s dump a bunch of other, unrelated shit into it to further obfuscate what’s going on.”

Fuck. This. Shit.


My plan involves giving a trillion bucks in reperations to black folks and having the results of that trickle up to Wall Street. I mean…why not?


Yes, it might all be just a scam. But Paul Krugman doesn’t think it’s just a scam, and I don’t see why he’d have a reason to involve himself in a massive Bushian pillage-n-plunder mission (like AUMF, and FISA, and so many other things clearly were).

I’m cynical and skeptical by nature myself, and we haven’t been given a lot of information about what is _more_ wrong these days than has been wrong for a long time, or, in other words, why now? And it’s always much more viscerally satisfying to say Fuck You, and I started out firmly in that camp. But by listening people I have no reason to mistrust I’ve come to believe that the discussion ought to be about what Something we do (balanced by what Something is politically possible), rather than Do Nothing vs. Do Anything And Everything.

So, in short, it feels good to keep flogging Paulson, but we’ve gone past Paulson, so let’s talk about where we are now.

Leon Trotsky, Exile-in-Mexico

Hey, what do you know, I was absolutely right.

Where’s the ponies for Congress?


On the slightly brighter side

Obama gains from voter anger: polls
A mounting mood of economic crisis is giving presidential candidate Barack Obama and the Democratic Party a sudden surge in voter support that might translate into an election blowout in five weeks.

Fears of financial collapse, panic on Wall Street and voters’ fury over being told to cough up US$700-billion to stave off an economic meltdown are driving a total transformation of what had previously been one of the closest election races in U. S. history.

A rash of new polls shows Mr. Obama and the Democrats stand to gain significantly from the economic crisis as a growing number of states and congressional seats are up for grabs in the Nov. 4 election.

A survey of polls by the Web site gives Mr. Obama a national lead over his Republican opponent John McCain of between 4.9 percentage points and eight percentage points, while tracking polls of individual states now place a number of former Republican strongholds into the “toss up” category.

Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and Indiana are all now in play, according to the polls.

Last week, as the Wall Street crisis began to pick up momentum, an ABC News/ Washington Post poll gave Mr. Obama his biggest lead over Mr. McCain yet, leading 52% to 43%. In electoral terms, that could well be a landslide victory.

Mr. Obama’s surge started with the loss of confidence on Wall Street and it looks set to continue as the economic crisis will continue to worry voters right up to the election.

A new study released yesterday by Democracy Corps and Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner shows Democratic congressional candidates also stand to win big because of the economic crisis.

“Increased anger about the country and a sharper focus on the economy has damaged Republican incumbents and put even more Republican seats in jeopardy,” the report says.

“If the election were held today, Democrats would be poised to win, perhaps, well upwards of 20 Republican seats,” the study predicts.

The study surveyed 50 competitive battleground congressional districts and revealed “an intensely angry electorate, even more sour on Republicans who have not distanced themselves enough from Bush.”

Just 14% of likely voters believed the country is heading in the right direction, the Democracy Corps study says. That’s the lowest figure the polling group has ever recorded.

“The intensely negative mood is more directed at Republicans, who are seeing their brand continue to erode,” the study says. “President Bush remains toxic and the Republican Party is now significantly less popular than the Democrats

“The financial crisis … is driving a deepening anger across the country,” the report says.

Just as the polls are turning in their favour, Democratic election advisors are predicting Mr. Obama may do far better than originally expected in several critical, Republicanheld states.

They predict a second surge will come from newly registered Democratic voters, who signed up to support Democratic candidates during the primaries.

“We’re much stronger on the ground in Virginia and North Carolina than people realize,” David Axelrod, an Obama campaign strategist, says.

“If we get out the vote, this may not be close at all.”

That could mean the presidential race will become nastier and more personal as the campaign enters its final stretch.

This week, William Kristol, a right-wing commentator and editor of the Weekly Standard, wrote in The New York Times that his old friend Mr. McCain “is on course to lose the presidential election.”

He suggested Mr. McCain might try to turn the tide by reverting to a traditional liberal-conservative battle and by painting Mr. Obama as a radical by once again raising his links to figures such as the controversial pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Although Kristol has been right all his life, he’s never been correct. Let’s hope he is this time.


So, the right was wrong. But you’ll never hear about it on your TV

Globe and Mail

Today’s topic is money. First, I’ll tell you that here in the TV Cranny we employ a crack team of first-rate researchers.

So today on the first day of October in the year 2008, a year that will go down in the annals of history as “the Year of Weirdness,” and following extensive research by the crack team here, I make the following accusation: The entire TV racket is a bastion of right-wing bias.

The research team tells me that governments in the United States, Britain, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Iceland have recently intervened to rescue collapsing financial institutions. And, as you may have noticed, without any research at all, the government of the United States has been at it again, trying desperately to bail out all of what is called Wall Street and the entire stock market.

What does it mean? It means the free-market economy has failed. It means the left was right and the right was wrong. So to speak. It could mean that, somewhere, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin is laughing his head off. And yet, in the hours of TV coverage of the market meltdown and the U.S. government’s bailout attempts, I haven’t seen a single communist, or even a solidly left-wing commentator, given time to crow, to boast and to say, “I told you so!” It’s all bankers wringing their hands and asking for help.


Yeah. Who needs Congress?


Interesting editorials in our national small-c conservative business-oriented newspaper.

America’s global fall from grace

From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail

October 1, 2008 at 12:00 AM EDT

Our gaze might be on the markets melting down, but the upheaval we are experiencing is more than a financial crisis, however large. Here is a historic geopolitical shift, in which the balance of power is being altered irrevocably. The era of U.S. global leadership, reaching back to the Second World War, is over.

You can see it in the way the United States’ dominion has slipped away in its own backyard, with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez taunting and ridiculing the superpower with impunity. Yet the setback of U.S. standing at the global level is even more striking. With the nationalization of crucial parts of the financial system, the U.S. free-market creed has self-destructed while countries that retained overall control of markets have been vindicated. In a change as far-reaching in its implications as the fall of the Soviet Union, an entire model of government and the economy has collapsed.

[…and on it goes]


Canadian mining firms gave free flights to Palin’s husband
VANCOUVER — Several Vancouver-based mining companies are downplaying a report they had given gifts to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd.

The Washington Post newspaper reported this week that Palin, the Republican vice-presidential candidate who had pushed through her state’s ethics reform bill aimed at corrupt “old-boy” politics, had accepted $25,367 in gifts, including from companies with Alaska mining interests.


Going to have to agree with this post.

This is not a good bill. The Dems can push a good bill, if they write it and are agressive about it. If the GOP wants to run against a good bill (i.e. one that offers real, substantial support for people in over the heads vis-a-vis mortgages), let ’em. They’ll simply have to explain to their constituencies how giving middle-class people money is a bad idea.

Of course, the Dems still have to write that good bill.


I’m with FlipYrWig.

And Paul Krugman, who calls the one side, mockingly, “Wise Men” and some other types “Destructive Yahoos”, I’ll let you guys guess who is who.

It’s not that I don’t trust each and every person here on their economic acumen or their sincere skepticism of anything the Democrats do — but Krugman, well, he actually knows what he’s talking about.


Krugman may know what he’s talking about economically, but I’m not sure he’s as cynical as he should be when it comes to the ideological arrogance of Hank Paulson and the elite class of financial shitbags he represents. Paulson wasn’t “fumbling” around when he asked for a no-strings-attached bail out. He knew exactly what he wanted (protection for his richest friends and colleagues) and what he was doing. He didn’t count on the usually gullible American public reacting with such vehemence to his repulsive request.


By the way, who would these “destructive yahoos” be anyway. Krugman, only a week ago, was shitting all over the bail out plan.


but we’ve gone past Paulson


The plan the House voted on, that is the basis of the plan the Senate is taking up, is the Paulson Plan with minor modification to make it look like there might be some oversight and/or any sort of reins on the power and money given. Unfortunately, as evinced by that charming conference call, we know damned well that it was just dress-up. It’s still the damned Paulson Plan. They can take all the money whenever they like. It has no effect on executive pay, except to say “Not next time”. It still lets Paulson give billions to his buddies without any real brakes on the train. It actually de-regulates a bunch of things that seriously need re-regulating.

It’s a turd.

I’m hardly against doing something, but the proposals being put forth are sheer bullshit. They don’t even look to actually stop the practices that got us here in the first place. It’s not even a bailout. It’s a pinata giveaway.


Right, Lesley, he was… and, in the meantime, the bailout plan _changed_.

I don’t think Krugman would say that the original Paulson “blank check” plan was “fumbling around” — the fumbling came later, when Paulson and the Bush administration really did (it seems) give ground on a number of things. Usually when the Bush folks cry wolf, they’re intransigent, they talk tough, they swagger. This time things unfolded quite differently, with a lot less swagger. Hence, “fumbling around.”

Either they adopted a whole new poker strategy to make it _feel_ like they negotiated and gave ground, or they really did negotiate and give ground. I have no access to anything other than the same media sources everyone else has been looking at, but compare how this has played out to how FISA played out. They don’t usually care too much about letting the Democrats have even symbolic concessions, so the fact that they’re willing to let Democrats look like they stood up to them and made key changes leads me to believe that they really are spooked this time.

I mean, the point about the fable of crying wolf isn’t that it’s bad because there never is a wolf; it’s bad because eventually the wolf really does come, and you’re going to need some damn help. (Our massive skepticism really does serve the Bush administration right, of course.)


The plan the House voted on, that is the basis of the plan the Senate is taking up, is the Paulson Plan with minor modification

It depends on the meaning of “basis” and “modification.” IMHO it looks like it’s been subjected to _major_ modification, and is hardly even the same thing anymore, if at all. We’ve gone from “gimme $700B, no questions asked, and I’ll do WTF I like, or else” to something with at least a degree of phasing, oversight, equity stake, etc. That’s very different, rather than a little bit different, even if it’s still not Teh Best Bill EVAR~1!


They don’t even look to actually stop the practices that got us here in the first place.

I do think you’re right about this — which is why the bill is a patch, and the big fix can (and hopefully will) come later. It’s like that little spare tire (a very expensive one, alas) whose function is to get the car to the shop, not to make it good-as-new immediately.


Really, economically I’m a low-functioning moron, but what sticks with me is that the Bush people really haven’t gone into their usual mode of “You have two choices, 1) Do as we say; or 2) Hate America.” They’re not playing their usual games. That’s what truly makes me nervous.

I’m sure this bill is much worse than the sparkly progressive Rainbows and Unicorns bill of our dreams, which would uplift the righteous and smite the loathsome and corrupt. But the dream bill isn’t on the table. I’d rather be an incrementalist, pass the best thing possible with the forces we have rather than the forces we wish we had, and buy some time.


On Tuesday, Bush released $630 billion to shore up the finance industry, which, one could argue, was a snub against the rejection of the initial plan.

By Wednesday, Bush and house Republicans reached a deal they could live with, but mostly they worked out how to market another distasteful bailout of bad debt to the American public. They’re no longer packaging it as a bail out of Wall Street but a rescue plan for Main Street. Marketing is their primary focus right now, especially in light of the unpopularity of the sitting prez, and the fact that McCain is increasingly sinking in the polls. Right now he’s seriously at risk of losing the election big time.

As for the GOP “not playing the usual games”, see

I can forgive anyone for being “a low functioning moron” when it comes to economics but not when it comes to the Rethuglican strategy and intentions.


what sticks with me is that the Bush people really haven’t gone into their usual mode of “You have two choices, 1) Do as we say; or 2) Hate America.”

That game doesn’t work when most of their base is against it, too.


Here are some of the awful tax cuts that make this so shameful. Tax credits for hybrids? Those bastards.

Lesley, if your only criteria for this is “the Democrats are getting rolled and/or they are giving into theft”, I understand it — Iraq, AUMF and FISA are three strong arguments.

But unless you have something specific that negates Krugman’s arguments (and please, the man has faced the Republican attack machine for 8 years like no one else has — he’s not naive about their capabilities), or can tell me why nothing is better than this, I’m inclined to believe Krugman.


That game doesn’t work when most of their base is against it, too.

But if it was all a trumped-up pseudo-crisis, wouldn’t the Republican base be for it, hoping to run against Democrats by depicting them as obstructionists, or by forcing Democrats to vote for it too, showing that Serious Republicans work across the aisle and set the agenda to get Serious Things done? Something’s amiss.

I can forgive anyone for being “a low functioning moron” when it comes to economics but not when it comes to the Rethuglican strategy and intentions.

Yes, _politically_ the thing to do is shoot down the whole shebang and defend the people’s hard-earned money as a crusader populist. But the fact that some of the most liberal Democrats around _aren’t_ doing that, again, suggests to me that the situation may be grave enough that the real-world risks outweigh the political gains. When people don’t do what seems so logical, that gives me pause.


“Now the fucking weasels are trying to send an even worse ball of shit through the Senate.”

Yes, of course. I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings to all the liberal/progressive bloggers, but the answer to the impasse, at least as far as St. Postpartisan and his band of merry pranksters are concerned, is to throw some tax cut horseshit into the thing in order to rope in the knuckle-dragging Republicans.

Yes, the bailout sucks. So does 99.8% of the other shit our faux democracy does. The best that can be hoped for is that we hold our noses and get the least destructive scenario. The antibailout drumbeat in the leftosphere has distressed me, not because the critique is wrong (it isn’t), but because of its blithe dismissal of what may be coming next.

Now, you might make a case for letting the whole house of cards collapse and starting over, but that isn’t going to happen unless the lot of you are willing to step away from your keyboards and start blowing things up. I’ll just break some more bad news to you, the generation of cell phones and sarcastic websites won’t be doing that any time soon. Sadly, your choice is no choice at all; hope for the least crappy result.

Unless you REALLY mean that torches and pitchforks stuff. Do you?


…the fact that some of the most liberal Democrats around _aren’t_ doing that, again, suggests to me that the situation may be grave enough that the real-world risks outweigh the political gains.

I’m under the impression this is what is driving Krugman – like many Democrats – to accept the latest plan.

The finance industry has the government, the broader economy, and the consumer by the short hairs. That said, Congress could still be more exacting and prevent any leniency toward the crooks.

I tend to agree with John Cole and these guys about the whole mess.

Protect the consumer of these sick fuck mortgage contracts and let the finance CEOs and other higher up crooks lose their homes and fancy nannies and automobiles and so on. They do not deserve a bail out or a rescue or anything resembling same.


Given the balance between doing what’s best and doing what’s politically possible, I feel like the Congressional Democrats are on the right track, especially the way they refused to crawl out on a limb that the Congressional Republicans would just as soon saw off. I’d love to see righteous crusader populism in the long-term solution to what’s going on. But when you’ve gotten far with a standard-bearer whose whole shtick is about getting people around the table to develop new bipartisan consensuses (?), I think it’s sensible — though not bold, at all — to run out the clock and force the other side to foul. They seem to have successfully prevented the Republicans from being able to demagogue the financial crisis, and that was probably more politically valuable than coming up with a progressive solution.


Also, I’m pretty “meh” on John Cole. He was too much like Josh “Tacitus” Trevino for too long before he had his Road to Damascus epiphany.


What are the odds this will force the religious free-marketeers to admit that the economy is actually complicated as fuck and not reducible to simplistic analysis of “invisible hands”?


So let me get this straight, you’re giving Bush, McCain and the house rethugs the benefit of the doubt and John Cole a “meh”?


Krugman is pulling an Obama — iow, assuming that the other side is competent and acting in good faith.


Nice try, Jay. Yes, some of the tax cuts aren’t bad. Funny, if you read the post, I did mention that the dems “got some disaster relief and renewable energy credits” out of the negotiations.

But does it make up for the rest of the shit? No. Go on, though, pretending there’s no other shit to make up for. Jackass.


It’s a game of chicken though. I’ve been involved in a situation in which X had to happen by time Y and when it didn’t an enterprise with around 1000 employees collapsed. In that case the employers had a plain record as incompetent liars so it was hard for union people to convince anybody that there was X or Y. Boy who cried wolf and all.

For myself I still don’t understand why the bill couldn’t prop up the homeowner mortgages somehow as they’re what was being leveraged, and I still don’t really understand if X or Y exist except that the market’s shaky.


why the bill couldn’t prop up the homeowner mortgages

Thinking further it is a wonderful pipe-dream to believe that a world-wide catastrophe could be averted by cutting ordinary house-buyers some slack.


So let me get this straight, you’re giving Bush, McCain and the house rethugs the benefit of the doubt and John Cole a “meh”?

Who are you, Bob Somerby, assuming that everyone who takes exception to your priority list is actively in league with the enemy? Cripes.


More to the point, I don’t see where it was that I gave anyone the benefit of the doubt, other than liberal economists, whose views I respect more than the self-important “Prog Smash!” stylings of Sirota, Stoller, Moulitsas, et al.


And I don’t know why we have to presume that everyone in politics always does everything in bad faith. Often, sure, they do. But look at what’s going on here. There’s little to gain politically for someone like Barney Frank or Chris Dodd to treat this like an actual crisis, when they could bask in the glory of telling the Bush administration to sit and spin. Public opinion has been running against this. Simple political game-theory would dictate that the thing to say is somewhere between “Hell No” and “Fuck Off.” So why would they do it? Because they’re gullible scaredy-cats? Or because something is genuinely wrong?


But you did argue to authority, Flip. Only thing is, Krugman’s a *minority* authority in this matter. Check out Atrios’s Wanker of the Day.


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