Monday, September 22, 2008

Better Proposals

The Republican draft for the Great Bailout appears to have spawned a reaction from the Democrats with some better ideas:

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank said lawmakers and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson narrowed their differences on a $700 billion plan to buy bad investments and they agreed the U.S. should get equity in the participating companies.

Lawmakers ``made it clear'' the U.S. should get stock warrants ``so that if the company becomes profitable, we get more than the general share for taking these risks,'' Frank told reporters today in Washington. Paulson agreed as both sides narrowed differences over the plan, Frank said on Bloomberg Television.


Frank and Dodd have proposed changes that include strengthening foreclosure-prevention efforts, curbing executive pay for companies that need the U.S. to buy their assets and expanding oversight of the Treasury program. Paulson has opposed limits on executive pay, Frank said in the television interview.

The Treasury proposal gave Paulson ``much too much authority,'' Frank said. ``We have restored the notion of judicial review and accountability.''

"Too much authority" means total and complete and utter authority. I'm not sure why people don't call it what it was. A New York Times article on the initial draft also avoids pointing out the simple facts that we would have made Paulson a dictator in his realm if we had gone along the initial draft:

Both presidential nominees, who face the prospect of inheriting an enormous new program, said there had to be more oversight of the Treasury Department than the Bush administration had proposed.

The Bush administration had proposed ZERO oversight. Let's not forget that.

Still, I'm glad to see some real progress happening. Or I hope that it's real progress. One part of me thinks that the draft had those totally unacceptable bits about no laws allowed for the very reason that people would get up in arms about them and then any compromise would seem like a victory, while in reality the industry and its cronies got exactly what they wanted. The Republicans play that game a lot.