Monday, September 22, 2008

Echoes of Cheney's Energy Policy?

Just reading this story about how forcefully the lobbyists for major banks and investment houses are pressing Secretary Paulson to extend their benefits from the new bailout program. All this behind-the-scenes effort to shape the legislation by industry leaders reminds me of Dick Cheney's secret pow-wows with industry executives and lobbyists on the Bush energy policy.

Check this out:

Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.

Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.

At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.

Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury’s proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions.

[snip]

The group said a wide variety of institutions as varied as mortgage lenders and insurance companies should be able to take advantage of the bailout, and that these companies should be able to sell off any investments linked to mortgages.

The scope of the bailout grew over the weekend. As recently as Saturday morning, the Bush administration’s proposal called for Treasury to buy residential or commercial mortgages and related securities. By that evening, the proposal was broadened to give Treasury discretion to buy “any other financial instrument.”
The pigs, lipsticked or not, are lining up at the trough, as Republicans easily cast aside their free-market pretenses. The same people who said we could not afford universal health care and Social Security are now stealing from the taxpayers to give to Wall Street.

This is the Bush legacy - the economic stagnation, the mountain of debt, the failure of regulation, the corrupting influence of corporate money, the rewards for the wealthy, and the foreclosures and bankruptcies and falling incomes of the middle class.

posted at 9:44:00 AM by Neil

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