The Bailout Con Game:
The Rude Pundit is not going to pretend he knows the ins and outs of the economics behind the Wall Street apocalypse. But he does know crooks, clowns, and con artists, and this fucked-up bailout is rank with all three. It's a fuckin' grift. It's a goddamn fixed poker game where the buy-in is $700 billion, but the mob guys runnin' the table think you're stupid enough to hock everything to keep playing.
Why is the Rude Pundit so sure? The easy answer is because the Bush administration is jonesing for it like a broke junkie trying to convince his dealer to let him have one more fix. But, shit, why just say that when five minutes of research proves the point. From a press conference, July 27, 2007, when Tony Snow, currently starring in Hell in the hit show, Hey, Demons With Spur-Tipped Dicks, Let's Rape Tony Snow, was being questioned about the United States teetering on an economic bubble blowing up like a fart in a bathtub:
"Tony, there are chain-reaction effects to what's happening on the sub-prime market. We've got some of the biggest companies, like Bear Stearns and others, that are really facing a potential blowout. And these are firms that are too big to fail, as they used to say. And if something happens in that -- now people are talking about a credit crunch, talking about blowout in the markets -- as a chain reaction of the inflation, the loans in the housing markets can affect the entire system. Now, the President didn't cause that problem, but it's going to be on his plate, and it's going to be on his plate soon. And I'm sure there's some discussions going on with regard to that. And the question is, what is he prepared to do -- there are some things he can do."
In other words, "Financial Institution Collapses Determined to Strike in U.S." It's shit that was out there. That many, many were predicting. And the administration preached sunshine and rainbows. They fucking knew, just like they knew that Saddam Hussein had no WMDs.
Answered Snow, "It is important to realize that the President does believe in fiscal responsibility. He also believes in trying to keep the economy growing, so that people will have options and will have income streams and will have strong futures, and furthermore, that you've got a Treasury team that continues to look at these and many more issues to try to maintain the strength of the American economy. And despite the sort of cataclysmic scenario you've just laid out, we've just gotten a report that indicates that there's, in fact, extraordinary strength in the American economy." You lie so grossly when you know you're lying.
Remember the way a con works: you have to convince people that there's something they not only need, but that they need right now, something that if they miss out on, it will wreck their lives. You can only get this deal now. If you don't do it, you'll regret it. The world will fucking fall apart unless you pony up. It's the same whether you're callin' Granny for her savings or the American people for their Treasury.
When you tell a con artist to slow down for a minute so you can think, the grifter will just up the intensity. You gotta be willing to walk away from the deal. If Democrats don't look Henry Paulson and George W. Bush in the eye and say, "Go fuck yourselves" to the deal in its current form, we will be fucked by this for a generation. As William Greider puts it in The Nation, "Government can apply killer leverage to the financial players: accept our objectives and follow our instructions or you are left on your own--cut off from government lending spigots and ineligible for any direct assistance. If they decline to cooperate, the money guys are stuck with their own mess." But that's not what the Bush administration wants.
No, right there in Section 8 of the proposed bailout legislation is the fiduciary nut kick of a power grab: "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." So the White House wants its Secretary to have total power over the funds, however much that ends up being. In other words, the White House wants to take the power of the purse away from Congress in this matter and center it in the executive branch.
How is this different from the other power grabs the administration has accomplished? At what point is this legislation, if passed in its current form, manipulated and legalesed into absurd over-reaches, like the Patriot Act or the authorization for the use of force against al-Qaeda?
No, bullshit. Fuck this. Something needs to be done, yes, but there needs to be hell to pay from the financial sector in the form of regulation. Wall Street should be littered with the corpses of financial "advisors" and executives leaping out of buildings to their deaths. But, alas, we no longer live in such honorable times.
The only good that can come from the whole situation is that this marks the gruesome death of economic Reaganism. Let's celebrate the end of that ideology by digging up his bones and tossing them into a volcano outside Paulson's office.