21 Sep 2008

Paulson Wants $700 Billion and No Stinkin Court Oversight

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This is a truly remarkable Bloomberg article outlining just how much power the single man, Henry Paulson, would achieve under the plan that–huh how bout that?–Henry Paulson invented. (HT2 Matt M.) A sample:

Through his plan, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson aims to avert a credit freeze that would bring the financial system and the world’s largest economy to a standstill. The bill would prevent courts from reviewing actions taken under its authority.

As congressional aides and officials scrutinized the proposal, the Treasury late yesterday clarified the types of assets it would purchase. Paulson would have authority to buy home loans, mortgage-backed securities, commercial mortgage- related assets and, after consultation with the Federal Reserve chairman, “other assets, as deemed necessary to effectively stabilize financial markets,” the Treasury said in a statement.

The Treasury would also have discretion, after discussions with the Fed, to make non-U.S. financial institutions eligible under the program.

The plan would raise the ceiling on the national debt and spend as much as the combined annual budgets of the Departments of Defense, Education and Health and Human Services. Paulson is asking for the power to hire asset managers and award contracts to private companies. Most provisions of the proposal expire after two years from the date of enactment.

But my favorite part is this quote from Bush, who–bless his heart–at least has pangs of cognitive dissonance from all this:

“I’m sure there are some of my friends out there that are saying, ‘I thought this guy was a market guy, what happened to him?'” the president said. “My first instinct was to let the market work, until I realized, while being briefed by the experts, how significant this problem became.”

It isn’t just your friends, Mr. President. And you should start talking to different experts.

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