Monday, September 22, 2008

Authorization for Use of Financial Force


I'm obviously no economist, but making Hank Paulson into some sort of Economics Overlord immune to any kind of review or oversight seems a tad extreme, and reminds me a bit of when Congress gave some other dude in the administration far reaching powers to start wars on the grounds of "I'm sure they know what they're doing".

Besides needing direct oversight, and limitations on the conferred powers, I also think there have got to be strings attached... no blank check nonsense.

We'll see if Congress has any willpower to resist the White House's typical "agree to our every demand or we'll tell everyone you hate America" shtick... I can't say I have high hopes for them suddenly growing spines, but at least they're making noise. Obama has a noon speech scheduled to discuss the problem, so we'll see how hard he pushes for changes... if at all. I think he could probably make some political hay about how it's a bailout for Wall Street with no provisions for homeowners... but we'll see.

Oh, and apparently there is no such thing as investment banking anymore. Remember when that's where all the high powered people who thought brain surgeons made chump change went? I wonder what will replace it as the go to job for soulless greed?

UPDATE: I forgot to link to it this weekend, but Jim Manzi has the most lucid explanation of the financial crisis that I've yet seen on the web. Highly recommended reading for those of us still trying to wrap our heads around the enormity of the problem we're facing.

UPDATE: Added relevant figure from Alex Tabarrok