Looked over the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 a bit. Title I – Troubled Assets Relief Program's SEC. 113 on page 39 is a key part. It specifies that if we buy assets (i.e. toxic waste) from financial firms we can either use a reverse auction (so the treasury will likely purchase these questionable assets at a low price, which isn't horrible. Alternatively, we can get the assets for equity or senior debt (i.e. first in line if the firm goes belly up), which serves to help recapitalize troubled financial institutions.
The serious failure of this bill is that how much equity or senior debt we get is up to the Treasury Secretary. What do you want to bet that Paulson, ex-Goldman Sachs CEO, isn't going
to insist on getting much equity for the money we pony up to Wall St? Plus, (3) (A) allows the Treasury Secretary to exempt firms that have troubled assets of not more than $100 million. I wonder how many subsidiaries these financial firms will create to get that exemption.
There are plenty of other problems with this bill. Just on the face of it: the fact that it bails out Wall St. for their risky activity, saddles us with the debt and more than likely won't work. These are the folks who keep thinking we turned the corner, after all. But to top it off, there is no upside for the tax payer on this one. Just a hope that Bush's folks act in the interest of the US people. Just ask the people displaced by Katrina where that got them.
The Big Picture reproduces a great graphic in the NYT about how the $700 billion wall street bailout compares to other spending by the Federal government. 100 times the money spent on the S-Chip program to provide health care for children whose parents cannot afford it for one.
One reminder, with what the Fed and Treasury have already spent to take over bad financial institutions or take on bad debt, $700 billion more puts at well over a trillion $ spent to bailout wall street. More likely the total will be $1.5+ trillion. Government-funded universal health care never looked so inexpensive.
Now that I am on a number of social networking sites, I find that syncing up my friends/contacts to be a chore. I am able to sync up my phone with my computer address book and with one on-line service, but sharing contact info with other services is one way and requires that I export my list from one service as a csv file and import it into another.