Despite their shit-eating grins, Democrats nearly got rolled today, but a mixture of luck and bad faith from Republicans saved them. How do you know that the Wall Street types were trying to steal from us, other than the fact that they said that the refusal to hand over money was akin to a terrorist act? Treasury officials had a secret conference call with Wall Street executives. Unfortunately for them, some bloggers were on the call. The 'Treasury boys' on the call made it clear that "the tranching is a mere formality, and the Treasury boys as much as said so. They could take the $700 billion max as soon as the bill has passed." That was always obvious.
And they admitted that "the exec comp provisions sound like a joke, They DO NOT affect existing contracts, they affect only contracts entered into during the two years of the authority of this program and then affect only golden parachutes." Both of these provisions were 'concessions' sought by Democrats. Of course, no one could have predicted this bill's 'concessions' to Democrats were farcical. No one at all.
It's worth noting that the blogosphere is very much split on this measure. Here's Nate Silver:
Having said all of the above, the schadenfreude of certain liberals on this issue is absolutely obnoxious. A lot of people are going to be hurt by this, and not just those in the investor class. I tend to see this more as a failure of our democracy than a reaffirmation of it. The congressmen who are retiring this year -- and who therefore can perhaps be described as the most neutral arbiters of the public good -- voted overwhelmingly for this measure.
Why would retiring Congressmen who do not have to face the voters but might have to face Wall Street recruiters be neutral arbiters of the public good? Why is it bad that candidates in tight elections voted against this bill for political reasons? Isn't that how we decide stuff? I've had the TV on all day, and I just don't get this attitude. This bill was unpopular and hated because the people proposing it do not have the faith of the public to write honest laws or carry them out. That is the problem, not partisanship or an excess of democracy. The belief that democratic pressures augur against the public interest is widespread, from Silver to this recommended diary by dansac on Dailykos.
This is a political crisis, which is why the public is angrily rejecting laws based on Republican demands for a bailout and Democratic concessions which everyone involved at the time knew were a total farce.