So Congress this week is being pressured to rush through a $1 trillion dollar Wall Street rescue package -- with no strings attached. Funny, I don't remember Congress rushing through a $1 trillion dollar rescue package after Katrina?
I read the NY Times account of the meeting between the Bush Administration and members of Congress. Henry Paulson and the Treasury Department apparently showed all these charts and graphs and said that if Congress didn't act immediately -- we're potentially 24 hours away from a complete collapse of our financial system.
And I thought to myself, where I have heard that before? Recent accounts of meetings between Dick Cheney and members of Congress during the run up to the Iraq War show that Cheney produced all these charts and graphs saying Saddam was close to having a suitcase nuke and that the case against Iraq WAS EVEN WORSE!TM than the public knew. And of course, as it turns out, Cheney was just flat out lying.
The rapid push for a $1 trillion Wall Street rescue is pure Shock Doctrine. The plans already existed, then the pretext happens, then the plans are rushed through without debate under the cover of darkness. The audacity is that in this case, Wall Street is really trying to steal $1 trillion dollars from the U.S. Treasury during the dying days of a despotic government -- before the Republicans are run out of town. It would be, perhaps, the greatest theft of public money in the history of the world.
So I have a modest proposal. It appears that politically, it will be difficult to completely block some sort of bill from passing. So I say pass the bill, but with the following requirements.
1. Any company that accepts the bailout or sells asset to the government -- their entire executive team and their entire board has to pay back to the U.S. government every penny in personal earnings or stock they've made over the last 7 years.
2. Any company that accepts the bailout or sells assets to the government -- has to pay back any tax breaks they've received over the last 8 years. And;
3. Finally, the CEO of any company that accepts the bailout or sells assets to the government will agree to serve life in prison, waive all appeals, and report to prison immediately. Look, if you rob a liquor store you should go to jail right? So what do we do with all the white collar criminals on Wall Street who stole the life savings of thousands of Americans -- send them all to jail for life.
We meet those three conditions, I'm fine with the bailout.
Update #1: As always, Glenn Greenwald completely nails it. So does Ian Welsh. As does Paul Krugman.