President Bush's $700-billion bailout plan to avoid economic catastrophe in the banking and financial industries is nothing more than the same type of emergency legislation the administration has rushed through Congress in the past in order to seize monarchistic powers in times of crisis. If anyone needs a little history lesson on what happens after the Busheviks obtain broad, sweeping, unfettered powers just see the 2002 Iraq War Resolution and the Patriot Act. At this critical juncture once again, Democrats must hold firm in amending this bill before approving it. It cannot merely serve as a rubber-stamp.
Here's what's most problematic in the simply-worded three-page document:
Sec. 8. Review.
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.
On other words, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is king. More powerful even than the president. He would have sole discretion to do whatever he pleases, whenever he pleases, and would answer to no one. The only accountability would be largely symbolic periodic updates to Congress about those unilateral decisions.
Sen. Barack Obama, Democratic nominee for president, said: "We cannot give a blank check to Washington with no oversight and accountability when no oversight and accountability is what got us into this mess in the first place."
Even the Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, objected to the bill as put forth by Bush: "Never before in the history of our nation has so much power and money been concentrated in the hands of one person. This arrangement makes me deeply uncomfortable. We will not solve a problem caused by poor oversight with a plan that has no oversight."
But, just as with the Iraq War Resolution and The Patriot Act (which essentially gave the Bushies a blank check to spy on and torture whoever the hell it wanted post 9/11), the administration is using the mess on Wall Street as an excuse to obtain absolute power once again. Not true, say the Bushies. If not, then what's the rush to pressure Congress to enact legislation when logic dictates that a bill with such monumental repercussions should be debated on the House and Senate floors, with a few necessary amendments added, before its passage? The answer is obvious: this is just another reckless, irresponsible land-grab by the same administration with a penchant for pissing on the Constitution. And now it wants to spend almost a trillion dollars of taxpayers' money to bail out its fat-cat friends on Wall Street.
Congress should not pass this legislation unless (a) there's proper oversight and accountability; (b) the government receives an ownership stake in the companies it rescues; (c) the little guy on Main Street gets commensurate relief; (d) CEO/chairperson compensation at bailed-out companies is regulated by the government; (e) no outgoing CEO/Chairperson of a bankrupt/bailed-out company receives multi-million dollar golden parachutes; and (f) there's a short-term provision requiring subequent review and renewal every three months.
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