Just a few hours ago, President Bush signed the highly contentious $700 “bail-out” bill into law, after it passed in the House by a margin of 108 votes. The bill, which gives Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson the right to purchase up to $700 billion of “troubled assets”, is intended to help prop up the U.S. economy and prevent a further financial landslide. Said Bush today, “By coming together on this legislation, we have acted boldly to prevent the crisis on Wall Street from becoming a crisis in communities across our country.”
Looks like the top member of the party that has long espoused small government, no government interference, deregulation, and completely free market capitalism is having to tuck his tail between his legs.
Although I imagine it will help our markets, if only by improving consumer confidence, I’m not a big fan of the fact that I’m being forced to pay between $3000-$5000 to socialize half of Wall Street. The greedy bastards (our government, finance head honchos) should’ve had the foresight to prevent this crisis in the first place, and I’m of the opinion that unlimited cash + no rules = hot mess. That’s why trust fund kids are always such total fuck-ups. Looks like Wall Street just tapped into its trust fund.
Says Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve Chairman, “The legislation is a critical step toward stabilizing our financial markets and ensuring an uninterrupted flow of credit to households and businesses.” Let’s hope this is true, and someone other than Giant Corp. X feels the benefits of this bill.
I do have to say that I’m disappointed in the members of the House, although it was my folly to expect something noble of them in the first place. But when the bill didn’t pass on Monday, my friends and I thought, “Oh my God! Our representatives are REPRESENTING us! What a concept!” Alas. They were just looking for an opportunity to turn the bill into the biggest Christmas tree of all time, full of random – and expensive – earmarks. Here are a few of my favorites:
- An excise tax excemption for a very specific type of arrow used by child archers that will cost taxpayers $2million over 10 years.
- Allowing production companies to write off the cost of making movies, which will cost taxpayers about $498million over 10 years. Since Hollywood definitely doesn’t make enough money as it is…
- A tax break on rum from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands that will cost taxpayers $192million.
What I really want to know is whether the bill that passed includes any of the limitations Barack Obama was pushing for, including help for people who can’t pay their mortgages, limits on executive salaries, and giving the public a stake in the businesses we’re saving.
Let’s hope this works, folks, or we’re fucked.