Tuesday, September 23, 2008

20 Questions About Bush and Paulson's "Bailout" Proposal

Before we decide to hammer the final nails into the coffin of our American Democracy, and effectively crown the President's Treasury Secretary dictator and king, I have a few questions I'd like to ask. I would appreciate it if anyone in charge could answer these for me.

I think I'll send these questions to my Representatives and Senators as well. If you'd like, feel free to copy these and send them to your Congressmen. In fact, I insist. Send these to your Senators and demand answers:

1 - Exactly how was this $700 billion amount determined? How likely is that number to raise significantly in the future? Will it double? Will it triple?

2 - Did Paulson really admit that banks who are perfectly healthy will be able to receive "bailout" money, not merely the troubled banks? How is giving taxpayer money to healthy banks connected to the mortgage crisis?

3 - Is it true that foreign banks and financial firms would be eligible for bailout money? If so, which banks? Would any of these foreign banks include those employing former Sen. Phil Gramm? What is the criteria for determining which banks receive taxpayer money?

4 - Speaking of which, exactly what role did Phil Gramm play in shaping this new bailout proposal?

5 - Since Gramm is one of McCain's closest advisers, and a possible future Treasury Secretary, to what degree was McCain and his campaign involved in the shaping of this bailout proposal? Was McCain advised in any way? Did McCain or his campaign have any prior knowledge of this proposal?

6 - Section 6 of the proposal states, "The Secretary's authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time." What exactly does that mean, "at any one time"? Does this mean the Treasury Secretary can request another $700 billion from Congress as he sees fit? Does Congress have the right to refuse, or does that only fall into the semi-annual review?

7 -Section 8 of the proposal states, "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency." Does this mean Congress shall have no oversight? Does this mean the courts, the Congress, even the President shall not be able to review or reverse the Treasury Secretary's decisions?

8 - Suppose it were discovered the Treasury Secretary was stealing money from the bailout funds. Would this or other crimes be protected under Section 8?

9 - Does this proposal override the Congress' power to operate and pass a budget as required under the Constitution? Does this proposal override the Constitution itself?

10 - If the powers granted to the Treasury Secretary violate the Constitution, would the Supreme Court be barred from review?

11 - If the Treasury Secretary and the President decree that any actions taken under this proposal are exempt from review, what other actions are they exempt from? What other areas of the President's authority shall not be reviewed by Congress and the Court?

12 - Would this proposal, in effect, give the President the power to decree and execute his own laws as he sees fit? Would such decrees be allowed for review by Congress and the Court?

13 - Since the Treasury Secretary is employed by the President, does this mean the Office of the President is thereby above the law? Shall Congress be forbidden to exercise its checks and balances as a co-equal branch of government? Shall the Supreme Court be forbidden to review any decision made by the Office of the President?

14 - If the President decides to kidnap American citizens and detain them indefinitely without habeus corpus, would this be allowed in the name of "the nation's financial security?"

15 - If the President decides that certain Wall Street figures have committed crimes, could they be disappeared and detained indefinitely without trial? Would the Treasury Secretary have this power in the name of protecting America's financial security?

16 - Does this proposal grant the Treasury Secretary and the President the authority to declare new powers and authorities as they see fit? Would these decisions be exempt from outside scrutiny or review?

17 - If this proposal is the sudden result of an immediate crisis, why was it drafted months ago? Why would such a proposal be needed? Why would such a proposal be less than three pages? What contingincies were anticipated? What were the alternatives?

18 - Why did Treasury Secretary Paulson tell Congress that he wanted oversight when Section 8 very clearly forbids it? What exactly did he mean when he said such oversight would seem "presumptious?" Does Paulson believe he should be held accountable to Congress, or that he alone is above the law?

19 - Why is the Bush administration insisting that we pass this proposal now, immediately, without debate? What do they believe will happen if this proposal is not immediately passed? How much time to we have before some unnamed catastrophe occurs? Weeks? Days? Hours?

20 - Exactly what will happen if the Congress does not pass this proposal, and in fact waits until the next President takes office in January? And if we are in such a terrible crisis, why were President Bush and John McCain insisting that "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" only last week?

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