An Anonymous Lawmaker Diagrams the High Stakes Chicken in the House

by: Matt Stoller

Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 13:00

Another email.

Here's the industry's play: progressives will approach Nancy with ideas for reform, and she'll agree to push for their proposals, and she'll really mean it. Then industry lobbyists will go to Dennis Moore, Melissa Bean and a few other Democrats, and tell them how dire the consequences of the proposals would be, and that the members who understand how the economy works need to step up to stop Nancy and the crazy liberals from doing something rash. Then those Democrats will go to Steny and tell him how terrible Nancy's crazy ideas would be, and how we can't rush into something like that without much, much more thought. Maybe Barney will try to talk to Dennis or Melissa, but it will become apparent quickly that they have no idea what they're talking about; they're just repeating by rote what the lobbyists told them to say. Melissa may actually be dumber than Sarah Palin. Barney will realize he might as well talk to the lobbyists directly and save a step. The lobbyists will agree to something inconsequential, but certainly nothing that would really affect the industry's conduct. Then the leadership will do the math and conclude that because the vast majority of Republicans will vote against any bill, we can't get enough votes without the Dennis and Melissa crowd. The only way, our leadership will conclude, to get anything at all passed is to include nothing more than the inconsequential proposals that the lobbyists agreed to. Then we'll all go along because it would be wildly irresponsible not to act when we're staring over the brink of a complete collapse of world financial markets.

I'd diagram it for you if I had a chalkboard. I've seen the play again and again, and it always goes for long yardage.

The only defense for the play is for a significant group of Democrats to say they won't vote for any proposal that isn't unpalatable to industry, and mean it. It's a pretty high stakes game of chicken, but otherwise we come out of this with nothing but a $700 billion giveaway to a crooked industry.


If anyone out there is good with diagramming software it'd be a neat picture to put together.

Matt Stoller :: An Anonymous Lawmaker Diagrams the High Stakes Chicken in the House

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Congress shoudl repeal the "Private Securities Litigation Reform Act." (4.00 / 1)
It was passed over President Clinton's veto.

It makes it more difficult for investors to get information on the corporations they invested in.

Secret Identities (4.00 / 5)
Well, I think we can rule out Melissa Bean as the anonymous author.

It's nothing new (0.00 / 0)
This is the same gameplan, just on a slightly larger scale.

The only upside, it doesn't involve actual killing.


Actually, it will kill many people (4.00 / 1)
Because this manure pile of a bailout will do nothing to stop a depression, it'll just make it a depression with hyper-inflation.

Thousands or millions of us will starve to death, starting with elderly and infants. More will die due to the inability to get basic medications. Others will die from untreated injuries. And more will die from those diseases we currently associate with refugee camps - typhus, coliform, and so on, because as more and more become homeless, tent cities will continue to grow, and the sanitation problems that come with them will be mammoth.

No hyperbole. No joke.

[ Parent ]
It's strangely (0.00 / 0)
affirming to know that things are just as fucked up and Dems are just as cowardly I'd thought.

But I didn't know Bean was stupid, just that she was awful, conservative Dem.

So let's play! (4.00 / 2)
I just commented on your first post from Mr. Anonymous (sorry I still don't know how to link).  I think my final paragraph is relevant here:

So here's my idea, Mr. Anonymous, stop waiting for someone to make sense.  It seems no leader--not Pelosi, not Reid, not Dodd, not Frank, and not Obama-- is prepared to come riding in and take the Hill.   Put down your lap-top, organize your equally angry brethren and damn-it storm the castle.  The people are with you.  They will follow your lead.

What precisely do you need from us, Mr. Anon, to actually do this?  Although, I think you know already the people are ready to take on these crackpots.  Courage!

I'll second that question. (4.00 / 2)
What can we do to stop this bullshit bill from becoming law?

Or, since you're being honest, is it inevitable this thing will pass and we're now just discussing how much lube the American people need to buy.

[ Parent ]
Email/Call Your Member of Congress and Senator (4.00 / 1)
and get all your friends to do it as well.  Nothing scares elected officials more than angry constituents in an election year.

[ Parent ]
especially weeks before elections (0.00 / 0)
McIntyre NC-07 is my Congresscritter and if he goes along with the plan as it appears now, I see no reason to return him to Washington.

What has John McCain done for veterans?

[ Parent ]
SHOW UP (4.00 / 1)
If you can get to DC tomorrow, so it.

If you can't then show up in the nearest congressional office to where you live.

Tell them, live, in person, that you REFUSE to have your future sold to a bunch of dirty thieves. You REFUSE to have the futures of your children or grandchildren sold to a bunch of dirty thieves.

If the thieves screwed themselves, good. Let 'em swing on the ropes they made for themselves.

In the mean time, use our hard earned money to build something new that isn't beholden to the thieves. We need a new WPA to employ people in vital tasks that have been ignored for years because those tasks could cut into the thieves profits.

We need new energy technology. We need insulated homes. We need better schools. We need rail infrastructure. We need basic R&D. We need all sorts of basic, basic things.  So fund them!

Take all the existing corporate subsidies and cancel them, then give brand new subsidies ONLY to those who put American workers directly to work within the 50 states building an economy that does not mortgage our future to a bunch of crooks.

We can take our time figuring out what to do from there...

[ Parent ]
What s/he needs from us (4.00 / 3)
Open Letter to the Executive and Congressional leadership:

After three investment banks have failed due to reckless, dangerous investments, the Bush administration now is demanding that American taxpayers give $700 billion of their money to the former CEO of investment bank Goldman Sachs to give away as he sees fit to the same banks that got us into this mess--without any judicial or legislative oversight.  This is the most viciously confiscatory bill ever put before Congress, and it will slash the throat of the American taxpayer.

Those negotiating what is objectively a massive theft from tens of millions of working families believe they will be able to do so without interference from those who they are treating with demonstrable contempt.

It is our intention to make clear that there will be consequences-severe ones- which will impact the bottom line of major domestic corporations, the positions of those negotiating the buy out and the economic and social stability of the upper income groups whose interests they serve.

In furtherance of this objective, the undersigned individuals and organizations commit themselves to engaging in some or all of the following  direct action should the bailout materialize in anything resembling its existing exploitative form.

* mass demonstrations on Wall Street with the intention of disrupting all activity in the New York stock exchange

* acts of sabotage directed at those corporations whose present and former management are most directly complicit in the bailout

* a one week general strike from May 1-May 8, 2009

* non payment of federal income tax for the tax year 2008

This is to serve notice that these and other unspecified actions are sure to materialize should the bailout precede.

In short, you will be held responsible for your actions.


[ Parent ]
The melissa Bean bit (4.00 / 1)
Did get a laugh.

I'm also a little mollified this person does believe Pelosi's heart is in the right place.  Still too many conservative Dems and a lock-step Republican party that will endorse the wrong thing unanimously every time.

Congress deserves its 9% approval, but I don't blame Pelosi for playing a bad hand.  We might never know, but I expect things would have been much worse with Hoyer as Speaker these past two years.

I was thinking along the same lines (4.00 / 3)
Especially about Pelosi...

But then I thought again- if her heart really is in it as the emailer is indicating, why doesn't she stand up for what she believes in?

She is the Speaker of the House!  She has the power and authority to hold this whole process up until she gets at least some of what she wants!

Yes she will take a lot of political flack, the "We are sinking into Depression and you are doing nothing" crap, but so what?  Is she in danger of losing her seat?  Even her Speakership?

Caving to dumbass Dems and lobbyists because without their inclusion no bill gets passed is just wrong.  If those lobbyists really want this bill (and I bet they do!) then make them come to her (our) position or THEY don't get what THEY want.

Why does compromise consistently mean we move toward their position?  Pelosi has the power to force them to come to us on this one- they want and need this bill to pass, and quickly.

So does she have the cajones on this one?  Maybe Hillary can lend her one of hers...

[ Parent ]
Beggars can't be choosey, or at least that's what they use to say. (0.00 / 0)
So if they can't come to money, the money can stay where it freaking is.

Seriously though, how do we help stop this charade from repeating and repeating?  Even if we are wrong, at least it will be our government for a change and not theirs.  That is a huge and necessary step.  

[ Parent ]
Wow (0.00 / 0)
This anonymous lawmaker must REALLY trust you Matt. If he/she was ever outed, her/his career in DC would be over.

The other way this play is defensed is if Dems in the districts of these tools of the industry get agitated and threaten to primary them. They won't win, likely, unless they find someone with gobs of personal cash like Lamont, but having a passionate, hard-working primary opponent is annoying as hell and a very strong deterent.

Isn't it in Obama's interest to step up here? (4.00 / 2)
Since Obama has the keys to the Dem Party after Denver, can't he just step up and tell the Dem leadership "NO DEAL"?

Since he will have his plans to govern changed dramatically, and the fact that if the Dems in congress CAVE right before the election, might that not have some REAL consequences come election day??

I am confused about where the power lays here.

Wouldn't Obama just prove that he is a Leader by doing this?

It's in our interest (4.00 / 2)
but I'm not completely sure it is in Obama's interest.  If Obama plays in a game of chicken over this issue he has to win it in order to become president.

This would require getting the Democrats behind him with solid support.  He'd have to have a very simple message to counter the shock and awe of the Republicans.

Of course, it is a very simple message: "this plan rewards those that got us into this mess".

He'd have to get his Very Serious people behind his plan and against the Republican plan.  No dissenters; everyone on message.

You know, I started writing this with mixed mind, really hoping Obama would do this but understanding the risks might be too high.  But assuming he can get the right players behind him, I don't think this is all that risky anymore.  People hate baling out crooks and losers.

Of course, Obama needs his own plan, so that would have to stand up on its own; I don't know what that plan would look like.

[ Parent ]
If Obama doesn't take this on and the Dems cave as they always do, (4.00 / 1)
Obama will lose anyway imo.  People will just not vote, and McCain will win by default.  

People are thoroughly pissed over the debt, the war, job loss, no health care, the housing market crash, investments blown to hell, retirement even more of a pipe dream than it was before, our children's futures gone; and if the government goes broke, there goes aid to children, social security, food stamps - what a freaking mess.  

While the blog people will vote for Obama, others will wonder why bother when you can't tell the two parties apart. This is a huge deal, and heads need to roll.  If this doesn't even merit putting accountability back into government, then it really should all be blown to hell.  

[ Parent ]
no no no. (4.00 / 1)
It seems that even after the FISA bill, people still don't understand what it means to be living under the corporate state.

They're not going to allow reform just because the Democrats are in charge.
Their control is so complete that they just make sure that the only people who get near the presidency are willing to play ball.

Obama is not a leader at all. That's not what they hired him for. His purpose is precisely to give rhetorical cover to the corrupt games Congress plays with big business, and to sell these games to the public under the guise of reform.  

My guess is that unlike the FISA bill, Obama will be allowed to skip the vote on this bill and voice some token opposition. But he will nonetheless praise it as a "necessary compromise". The bill will probably be dressed up with a few minor cosmetic changes which don't alter the essential substance of the bill, but which will be trumpeted as "reform." And the bill will pass with the support of all Republicans in Congress and about half the Democrats. That's how this is going to play out, again and again, even when Obama is president.

For the moment, the power lies in the hands of the large corporate interests. The people have no power at all. Obama understands this and behaves accordingly. As he learned from studying Alinsky, you go where the power is. That's all he's doing.

Leadership, in the sense in which you mean, is not possible in this thoroughly broken system. The best we can get is a corporate figurehead who is not as malicious and reckless as Bush. In that sense, Obama is a thousand times better than McCain. But a kinder, gentler corporate figurehead is still a corporate figurehead.

[ Parent ]
Obama has no choice but to oppose it (4.00 / 4)
If he winds up backing it he'll demotivate a significant portion of his base and wind up giving back some of the recent polling advantage he worked very hard to achieve.

The problem is that we saw Obama fold under this kind of pressure back in June on FISA. So that doesn't bode well for his actions here, as his noncommittal statement today doesn't really commit him to anything.

Obama needs to realize that this is the first major decision of his presidency. If he gets it wrong his presidency may not only be crippled, it may not come to exist, period.

[ Parent ]
1990 Budget Bill (4.00 / 2)
I predict this thing is going to go down like the 1990 budget battle.  In that one, the House Rs, led by Newt, walked away from Bush I b/c he proposed raising taxes.  The first version had too many spending cuts so the Dems walked away as well and the bill went down in flames.  The second one was much closer to what the Dems wanted and it passed.

I predict the House Rs are going to walk away from this thing in large numbers meaning the Dems are going to hold all the cards.  That means this thing, as drafted, will not fly.

I also predict the House and Senate will delay their recess.  I worked on the Hill and I don't see them getting this through by the end of the week.  Too many open issues right now.

Hmmm, (4.00 / 1)
So much more at stake than the 1990 budget bill.  This is being spun as our only hope to avoid the Great Depression Part Deux.  Folks are scared...yet we also know that this proposal is just massively and diabolically wrong--criminally so. If the Repubs indicate they will walk away and leave the Dems holding the bag, there is a very real chance that they and those they serve will emerge as the victors here:  Wall Street tanks again, the Dem leadership panics and Mr. Anon.'s scenario plays out in all of its twisted logic.  

So again, I ask our mystery congressperson: what on earth do you and those who think like you need from us to do the right thing, to shore up Pelosi and to take down these clowns once and for all?

[ Parent ]
Probably, you/we need to demonstrate we're willing to die (0.00 / 0)
before they'll take even the timidest of steps to face (not face-down, just face) the CorpoRat monsters who own them so wholly that they cannot affoed to attach their names to valid criticisms...

chickenshit is as chickenshit does...

[ Parent ]
Tend To Agree (4.00 / 6)
The politics of this are going to get complicated.  

First, the odds are that they will delay their recess. If they don't, and they actually pass this thing in the next 5 days,  that will really show bad faith with the American electorate.

Second, the political percentages are actually going to tend to favor voting AGAINST the final bill...just as long as the bill still passes. Kind of paradoxical, but this bailout has the great potential to become a political albatross, at least on so-called "Main Street."  

Hey "main street," we had to buy $700 billion worth of junk securities from Wall Street to benefit you!  Sorry we don't have any money for you, your health care bills which have doubled in the last 5 years, or help with your housing payments, but hey, and make sure you pay your taxes on time this year. Huh? That does not fly politically...which helps to explain why even McCain has suddenly morphed into an Edwards populist.

As this diary points out...a game of chicken is going to take place despite all the happy talk for public consumption. Presumably, for the sake of "calming the markets," the game of chicken will take place behind closed doors.  Fair enough.

The Democrats actually hold a VERY strong hand here. By the way, they are in control of both Houses.  Duh.

The trick here is NOT to come up with complicated amendments. NO.  The trick here is to come up with absolutely, unassailable, simple amendments that poll at 70% or above.  You can start with Congressman Sanders proposals and evaluate from there.  

Look, by definition, the 70% proposals WILL be adopted, or there will be hell to pay for the Republicans. That is why they are 70% proposals.  Duh.  It is all in finding the 70% proposals.  Again, start with Congressman Sanders proposals and work your way from there.    

But to be clear, for the sake of the markets, Pelosi, Reid, and those Demo leaders who are putting this together, must do it quietly and deliberately. In public, they should project calm confidence that some package will emerge.  (However, I do think they have to signal very early, as in tomorrow, that the $700 Billion ceiling will have to be adjusted.  You do not want the markets to be surprised on the day you pass a bill that includes a $200 Billion ceiling.

For those of us in the netroots and the electorate, WE must put maximal pressure against the blank check for $700 Billion, and we should assuredly be very public about our pressure.  

[ Parent ]
Well Said (0.00 / 0)
It is pretty clear this proposal is DOA.  NO ONE is buying it.

I also agree that a lot of rabel rousing by the negotiators probably makes things worse, not better.  If the markets stay relatively calm knowing some help is coming that makes it much easier for the Dems to put important things in the bill.  We want to avoid another panic this week.

The Ds really hold all the cards, especially in the House.  The Rs are going to walk away so in the end Wall Street is going to have accept something like the Schumer proposal for equity in the companies, mortgage workout, new regulation, etc or get nothing.

[ Parent ]
Agreed (0.00 / 0)
As a general strategy...for better or worse...the negotiations should be done quietly.  

However, my advice would be for an early signal on Monday along the lines of: "from calm, deliberate discussions, a final plan will emerge, one that will restore confidence in the markets, respect and protect the American taxpayer, and simply and directly address some of underlying causes of this crisis."

No additional answers at this time, other than the fact that the first proposal, proposing $700 Billion, may have to be adjusted.

[ Parent ]
Missing one big thing... (0.00 / 0)
As a general strategy...for better or worse...the negotiations should be done quietly.

...Ds need to block CNBC's broadcasting capabilities until a real deal is passed.     Drum up some emergency powers... for the sake of our national interest no Squawk on the Street, The Call, Power Lunch etc.

[ Parent ]
Add some regulation on pundits to this bill (0.00 / 0)
these people get on TV/radio and talk markets up or down to suit their fancy, or prod ratings.  This is a perfect time to put some regulation of that problem.  Just look at how they have talked up the price of oil.

[ Parent ]
another panic actually can go either way (0.00 / 0)
it ups the ante.  so it really depends on what the layout of power is and who has the most to lose by no bailout happening.  I would wager it would be bernancke's friends in relative terms and the people already living ont he margins in absolute terms.

so it sort of depends on how long it would take to put together a real package.  they should have had one lined up to begin with.  anyone who pays attention could have seen something like this coming from miles away.

[ Parent ]
Agree (0.00 / 0)
The Democrats actually hold a VERY strong hand here.

I'm beginning to agree.

[ Parent ]
To Be Clear, the Hazards are Huge (4.00 / 3)
Mark, as you discuss above, the hazards here, particularly for Obama, are huge.  When I say that the Democrats have a strong hand, that means that if they so choose, they can lead on this.  But with leadership, comes both opportunity and political hazard.    

As I said above, on its face, a bailout package such as this has all the hallmarks of a political albatross.  Accordingly, if what ultimately emerges is a package that all the Democrats vote for, and all the Republicans vote against, the Democratic party, unhappily, will fully "own" this bailout.  That outcome is a distinct possibility.  And if it is going to come to that, then clearly, the Democrats should make this thing fully progressive. That is probably the best that can be done considering the circumstances.

The worst possible outcome would be for the leadership of the Democratic Party to proceed under the assumption that they will get full Republican support, "compromise" with the Republicans to get that by putting together a weak "give away the store" bill, then have the Republican party, or substantial numbers of Republicans outfox them by voting AGAINST the final bill.  

That is a distinct possibility that must be avoided at all costs. I can just see Pelosi and/or Reid saying:  hey, they promised to vote for it! Oh, brother.  That will work for maybe a day in the daily news cycle, then the electorate will forget about this technical point, and the Republicans will be able to run ads against the Democrats, pointing to this albatross for the next 5 years

Our chances of capturing the presidency (which happens to be Number 1 on my wish list) may very well be determined by how this "bailout package" proceeds over the next few weeks, and ultimately, what finally emerges.  But most importantly, how both McCain and Obama vote on the final package could be decisive in the election.  You would never want to have an outcome where Obama votes for it, and McCain votes against it.  If that were to happen, Obama would likely lose the election.  

For better or worse, political calculation suggests that both Obama and McCain should vote AGAINST the final bill.  Each one will point to particular defects that they could not, in good conscience, vote for.  

Obama's statements today suggest that he is laying the groundwork for that "no" vote. McCain has already laid the groundwork for his "no" vote by suggesting his own alternative plan. Neither one of them can afford to risk the presidency on this...unless...what emerges meets some political gold standard of unassailability.  Even with the improvements I have suggested above, ala Sanders, I do not think it will reach this gold standard.  

[ Parent ]
Democratic lawmakers (4.00 / 3)
are refreshingly blunt and honest when they're anonymous.

Schumer Proposal (4.00 / 5)
I am mulling Chuck Schumer's idea that the govt get stock warrants in all companies wanting to dump their debt on the govt and the more I think about it the more I like it.

You want to socialize your risk, then we want major stakes in your companies so the taxpayers get a piece of your profits once you recover from your mistakes.  This is what the govt did with the Chrysler bailout in the late 1970s.

Add this provision to workouts for homeowners, caps on executive pay, new regulations to prevent this from happening and I might be actually able to support this piece of crap.

I have my issues with Chuck but he is a very talented legislator and he serves on the Banking Committee.  He might actually be able to make this work.  Should be interesting to watch.

sounds good to me too (4.00 / 1)
as it stands, they don't even have to say "We're Sorry!"

[ Parent ]
Some numbers (4.00 / 4)
from Paul Foldes, via the Interesting People list
Let's assume - as a true 'worst case' scenario that ultimately the number of mortgages in trouble for homeowners who occupy their homes doubles
- that would mean 8 million homeowners would need help.
Let's assume that instead of a bailout of the financiers as now proposed, the bailout was focused on the owner occupants instead.

Let's assume the government subsidized the payment of those occupants by $ 1000/mo for 5 years; enough time to sell or refinance those homes in an 'orderly manner' in a stabilized home market.

The cost to the government would be 8 Million x $ $1,000/mo x 12 (mo/yr) x 5 (years). = $ 480 Billion spent overall over 5 years; BUT NOT ALL AT ONCE

2) The benefit would go to the taxpayers rather than financial speculators.
Let's remember: owner occupant homes are taxpayers!
Not only is the US Treasury (aka American taxpayers) benefiting - but so are local taxpayers; i.e. the local municipalities who provide everyday services to our citizens - thus keeping local governments and neighborhoods
better off than if 'bad loans' are allowed to be foreclosed, and empty homes deteriorating thereby negatively effecting neighborhoods, by lowering their over home values).

The only losers would be the 'vulture funds' that are salivating over the opportunity to buy these portfolios from the government at discount prices; after the government bought them at higher prices from the current owners (whoever these owners are, since no one knows for sure).
Paul Foldes
Disclosure: Writer has some experience in business, finance 'in the real world' aka outside the Washington Beltway.

This is a Test of the Emergency Free Speech System. This is only a Test. In an actual Free Speech Emergency, I'll be locked up.

Tough sell. (4.00 / 1)
It makes sense to help the homeowners instead of the corporations who created the crisis. The idea certainly has populist appeal. The problem is that it assumes that the foolishness of the buyers deserves full forgiveness (and maybe even profit) at the expense of all taxpayers -- not really so different than the current plan after all.

Maybe it's a matter of the language -- I can't quite tell exactly what the author is proposing. A $1000 check each month to the owners? To the mortgage holder? Near where I live there are a lot of McMansions that are empty and presumably many are in foreclosure. It's hard to see the owners of the small bungalows around them not going crazy thinking about these fools getting a chunk of their tax dollars. The propaganda advantage is all on the side of those who would oppose such a measure. At the least, there would have to be a ceiling on the value of qualified mortgages.

The goals are great, but there has to be a better way to implement them.

[ Parent ]
Best Counter-Proposal I've Seen (0.00 / 0)
Why should "Moral Hazard" be concentrated in the hands of the wealthy?  If you are going to accept that some people will make out better than "they should have", why not spread it around so at least there is some social benefit.

AND, if the math is anywhere close,
SAVE $300,000,000,000.00!!  

USA: 1950 to 2010

[ Parent ]
Ben, this is great (0.00 / 0)
Post it to Quick Hits.

Start a Facebook.

I'm in!

USA: 1950 to 2010

[ Parent ]
a diagram (4.00 / 1)
i believe that this illustrates Wall Street's plan pretty well.

not everything worth doing is profitable. not everything profitable is worth doing.

Democrats are too stupid to figure out the shock doctrine (4.00 / 12)
Here's how it works:

1. Shock

2. People are stunned and suddenly open to radical change

3. Plan for radical change is proposed and implemented

No big secret here, right?  Except that the part that Democrats don't seem to get is that after the first two steps, people are just as open -- if not more so -- to progressive change as they are to neo-liberal/Chicago-School change.  It simply is never proposed as an alternative.  While progressives are looking around bewildered, neo-liberals are standing ready with a plan ready to go.

Instead of getting down on their fucking knees and begging the GOP to possibly consider some half-assed, quasi-progressive policy along with the bailout, the Democrats should be dusting off their Christmas list.  

Screw the Bush-Paulson plan.  Make your own plan.  A fantasy plan.  Put everything that you could possibly want in it.  I'm not talking about pet projects and minor details.  But if you could rewrite the entire financial regulatory scheme from scratch to make it as perfect as you could possibly make it...this is the time to roll it out.

Then pass that mother, slap it down on Bush's desk, and tell him he better f-ing sign it or the entire planet will blow up.

Bravo! Bravo! (4.00 / 2)
That's what the people would cheer.  

I'm not sure any more needs to be said.

[ Parent ]
I like your style (4.00 / 1)
And I'm with you in spirit, but read the email above again and focus on the dynamics of the House.

Many of the Republicans want nothing to do with any governmental intervention, so they won't go along with your ideas.

Then there are the Democrats... the emailer clearly lays out how disjointed and non-unified they are.  So...

Who could put together such a progressive plan?  Who would be able to shepherd it through both houses of Congress?

Unfortunately, this tactic is very successful, but only when employed by a unitary branch of government.  In other words, the President.

And until we win the Presidency, we will continue to see this type of action/plan being forced on us.

[ Parent ]
We're talking past each other (4.00 / 1)
I'm not saying that it will happen.  I'm explaining why it won't.  It isn't because the Democrats can't do it, in the sense that they lack the political tools or the popular will.  It's because they (a) don't want to or (b) are really pretty stupid.

I don't have the time or energy to pick out who belongs in which category.

[ Parent ]
Air cartooning (0.00 / 0)
I'm not a cartoonist but I've got an idea of a diagram for the Kabuki that'll likely take place.

Square 1: Mound of shit with heat riser lines rising from it and $700 Billion For Sale sign stuck in it along with George W. Bush with "What-Me_Worry grin" and Henry Paulson (wearing a Goldman Sachs CEO ID) on either side.

Square 2: "Upchuck" Schumer (he gulped!!!) wearing a "Hedge Fund Managers are my friends" button shaking his head saying "No way I'm buying that!"

Square 3: Paulson pulls a bag of close pins from his back pocket and hands one to Upchuck.

Square 4: Schumer with close pin on his nose and bill of sale in his hand saying "We The People own this mound." Bubble emanating from Chuckles says "Excellent bi-partisan comprise solution."

The key is where does Obama fit in these squares? This isn't bullshit time on opposing the Iraq war unless "Colon" Powell says it's OK.

The price the government can pay for the... (0.00 / 0) investments should be required to be LOWER than what the corporation paid.

With the current proposal, a corporation can sell investments no one wants to the government for MORE than the corporation paid in the first place.

Re Hoyer, I wonder if this narrative is too kind (4.00 / 3)
Do Blue Dogs go to Hoyer to stop progressive victories, or does Hoyer go the Blue Dogs for the political cover he needs to stop progressive victories? I have worried lately that when Hoyer - for God knows what reason - wants to prevent something, he goes to the Blue Dogs and scares them or just asks them to play scared. Then he tells the caucus that [x] is a Really Tough Vote for the Blue Dogs, and We Have to Do/Must Not Do [x].


"Looking pretty hollow" (4.00 / 3)

"Blogging under the influence" Yglesias:

It'd be one thing for a bunch of conservative politicians to ram a terrible policy through. Then we could say "well, if some progressives win the next election things will be different." But if this comes through an allegedly progressive congress then the whole enterprise starts looking pretty hollow. (emphasis added)


The Dems sucked as a minority party, and they suck harder as the majority.

It feels like we're at a seminal moment for the future of the Democratic party. Will this be the final capitulation too far...?

Self-refuting Christine O'Donnell is proof monkeys are still evolving into humans

Question is absolutely right on... (0.00 / 0)
...especially given Congressperson Anon's emails.  

And I must send special props your way, Steve, since evidently you're writing from my town.    

[ Parent ]
Agreed (0.00 / 0)
If the Dems cave on this, the party is finished.

They will be a hollow party, standing for nothing.

And my bet is that they'll cave.

Bush hasn't lost yet by betting on the Dems folding.

[ Parent ]
Bargaining (0.00 / 0)
The first question to ask Bush/Paulson: "Are we really in dire straits? If so, then what are you willing to concede in order to get a bill passed?" If they say, "well what will you concede?" counter by saying "No, no, you're the one saying that we are in dire straits, so what are you willing to concede?"

If they won't concede anything, then obviously there isn't much of a problem. So then do nothing.

Do not start off by acknowledging that there is a terrible problem and then conceding everything.

And... (0.00 / 0)
Then announce to the press: "Paulson and Bush don't really think we are in dire straits. If they did then they would be willing to concede something. But since they are willing to concede nothing, then obviously they don't really think we are in dire straits, they just want to steal our money. When they are ready to give something up, then we can talk."

[ Parent ]
I have written my friends, senators and representative that I want accountability and (0.00 / 0)
regulation in the bailout legislation.  Now I've read Robert Kuttner's "Calling Paulson's Bluff" at and I want the provisions he has laid out in the legislation.

To summarize Kuttner:  The Secretary must be accountable, and Wall Street must give rather than get, get, get: more refinancing help for borrowers, limits on windfall gains to corporate executives, and a commitment to re-regulate all types of financial institutions.  The bill should expire in six months.  Take over companies and manage them if that provides the greatest potential savings to taxpayers.  Include a recapture provision.  Authorize cities and towns to acquire foreclosed properties in order to get buyers and renters into them quickly.  Include $200 billion of economic stimulus for infrastructure rebuilding, unemployment and retraining, and green investment.

Paulson is asking for complete control over what happens to our money.  I appreciate what Obama is proposing and I think every Democrat running for the Senate and the House should step forward with a populist proposal.  The American public is ready for candidates who are willing to work for and protect them.  We must keep the pressure on.

Diagram (0.00 / 0)
I can describe the diagram easily, but the description cannot be reproduced on a family web site.

Those who have had a chance for four years and could not produce peace should not be given another chance. --Richard Nixon, 9 October 1968

Require Professional Liability Insurance (4.00 / 1)
I've often wondered why people in positions such as Paulson aren't required to have a professional license and carry professional liability insurance.  Heck, even the employee that takes your blood pressure at the doctor's office must meet that requirement. Most professions with any modicum of responsibility are licensed and insured.  Furthermore those decision makers at Treasury who have steered this ship into an economic iceberg should be excluded from all discussions and decisions and the "solution" that the shifty eyed Paulson has been waving around needs to be ceremoniously burned, and Greenspan needs to be scorned...formally. That little twit has been lead around by the ear by the Bushes for 20 years. I tell you something else that needs to be included in any legislation that's related to this crisis, offshore accounts of U.S. citizens need to be open to the public.  ALL foreign accounts of U.S. citizens preferably, but certainly those of public officials and positions of influence such as Paulson.  And Jeb.  And George.  The whole damn gang.

Do the lobbyists have names? (4.00 / 2)
Maybe it isn't just Barney Frank who should be talking to them. Maybe a conversation with netroots would be in order.

Exactly. (0.00 / 0)
You nailed it.


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