Why The Dems Didn't Do It

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Yesterday we posted Rep. Jeff Flake's reasons for opposing the bailout bill, but the big mystery on the floor was why so many Democrats went against Pelosi. Most members are pointing me to their statements on the bill, which reveal them, for the most part, as ready for a deal if the bill is rewritten with muscular taxpayer protections and a whip hand over Paulson. A sample of the different takes…

Donna Edwards, a Maryland Democrat elected this year (in a primary then a special election) on the backs of bloggers and the SEIU. One of the majority of black caucus members who couldn't go back home and argue for welfare for Wall Street.

This bill was vague and contained more dressing than substance for working Americans. It gave the Secretary of the Treasury unparalleled purchasing power of any financial instrument without adequate, enforceable oversight. There were no guidelines in this bill directing the Secretary as to how or which troubled assets to buy. The bill did not address how or when the government would sell the purchased assets back in the market. Despite the positive provisions of this bill that help tenants, the provisions to help homeowners were not mandatory; they were discretionary. Finally, the Economic Stimulus bill which passed the House and included real benefits to working Americans such as extending unemployment benefits, providing additional food stamp assistance, and investing in infrastructure to create good-paying jobs is effectively dead.

Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat who's running for Senate (and expected to win).

Any plan that puts taxpayer money at risk must ensure that taxpayers get paid back before shareholders, bondholders or executives—so that corporate CEOs do not get a golden parachute while taxpayers are left to pay the bill.

Additionally, Congress should act further to keep Americans in their homes by addressing the crisis in the mortgage industry as well as the one in the financial sector.  Any economic package that allows tens of thousands of Americans to lose their homes is simply inadequate.

Dennis Kucinich, who is Dennis Kucinich, and will vote against any bailout, no matter what's in it.

Why aren't we helping homeowners directly with their debt burden?  Why aren't we helping American families faced with bankruptcy.  Why aren't we reducing debt for Main Street instead of Wall Street?  Isn't it time for fundamental change in our debt based monetary system, so we can free ourselves from the manipulation of the Federal Reserve and the banks?  Is this the United States Congress or the board of directors of Goldman Sachs?  Wall Street is a place of bears and bulls.  It is not smart to force taxpayers to dance with bears or to follow closely behind the bulls.

Another hint about the politics came from the RNC, which cut an ad linking Obama to the bailout ("he wants to spend another $1 trillion of your money"). The ad was released before the vote, when Republicans assumed the bailout bill would pass.

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  1. Yesterday we posted Rep. Jeff Flake’s reasons for opposing the bailout bill

    The video is no longer available. I saw it yesterday and it was a good speech. Does anyone have the text of his comments?

  2. The RNC cut an ad pinging Obama for supporting the bill, and McCain took a victory lap for not just supporting it but, allegedly, getting it passed?

    That’s a bit odd.

  3. The RNC cut an ad pinging Obama for supporting the bill, and McCain took a victory lap for not just supporting it but, allegedly, getting it passed?

    That’s a bit odd.

    If it plays it plays

  4. So help me, if Bailout 2.0 involves another trillion to bail out stupid borrowers, I’m going to stage a tempter tantrum.

  5. Can we declare a 7 day moratorium on using the words “Wall Street” and “Main Street” in the same sentence? At this point, I’d be glad if the congressfolk would compare the situation to Nazis or Fascists or use baseball analogies, anything.

  6. I’m overjoyed seeing that damned clusterfuck of a bill fail yesterday but I hold no illusions that we will avoid some sort of rescue bill.

    Still, every day that goes by after the doom and gloom pronouncements by the “experts”, pundits and political leaders like McCain, Bush, Pelosi, Obama, et al is a bit more ammo for the argument “these folks are fucking clueless”.

    Don’t feel bad, main street. The econ gurus mentioned above either didn’t see this coming or did and ignored it. Then they pronounced something had to be done IMMEDIATELY or the demons will be eating your offspring.

    Do you really think they’ve got it right this time?

    Joe lent money to Fred to buy property.
    Fred can’t pay Joe back.
    You should come to both of their rescues.

  7. Bush is the boy that cried Wolf, so he is rightly ignored. Economists are now firmly in the same boat.

  8. Joe lent money to Fred to buy property.
    Fred can’t pay Joe back.

    I like analogies, so let’s take this one further —

    Bush/His Cronies: Let’s give Joe money, even though he and everyone else knew Fred would never pay him back. If we don’t, he might not lend to other people anymore. (Plus, he’s my brother-in-law)

    Left Wing: No, give Fred more money! Won’t someone look out for the little guy! What about the CHILDREN!

    Moderates: They’re both assholes, but what’cha gonna do? Let’s give ’em both money.

    Free-Market Right Wingers and Majority of Americans: Screw ’em. Their problem.

    MSM: DO SOMETHING!! AAAAHHHHHH!!

  9. The RNC cut an ad pinging Obama for supporting the bill, and McCain took a victory lap for not just supporting it but, allegedly, getting it passed?

    That’s a bit odd.

    There’s egg on a whole lot of faces right now. I’m reveling in it. McCain supposedly suspended his campaign to make this happen. He looks the ineffectual leader, does he not? Him, Obama, Pelosi and Bush all got together th hammer out the details for a bipartisan bill that will avert the impending financial meltdown.

    For those keeping score at home, at the end of the first,

    No bill.
    No meltdown.

  10. The ad was released before the vote, when Republicans assumed the bailout bill would pass.

    Or the ad was released before the vote, when Republicans knew they were going to sink the bill, allowing them to draw a contrast with the Democrats.

  11. (“he wants to spend another $1 trillion of your money”). The ad was released before the vote, when Republicans assumed the bailout bill would pass.

    So, does that mean Obama is against the bail out?

  12. Him, Obama, Pelosi and Bush all got together th hammer out the details for a bipartisan bill that will avert the impending financial meltdown.

    I’d say Obama has a much lower profile on this than the other three, in terms of sticking their necks out in support of the bill. Wasn’t John McCain saying that Obama has been sitting on the sidelines?

  13. There wasn’t a Democratic revolt against Pelosi. Because of a lot of grassroots Democratic opposition to the bill, she tried to maximize apparent Democratic opposition by giving individual Democrats in shaky districts permission to oppose. The idea was to let just enough Democrats oppose to ensure that the bill would pass by just a hair when Republicans in safe districts came home to roost. When that didn’t happen, the bill failed catastrophically.

  14. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRmB93McZeI
    Cut and paste this great video regarding this crisis and McCain’s role! Already removed from youtube!

  15. DJIA- 10600.65 +235.20
    Oh noes! If we don’t pass this bill …

  16. I’d say Obama has a much lower profile on this than the other three.

    True. He wisely hedged his bet.

  17. First and foremost, the American people opposed this bailout by a landslide.

  18. If Bob Barr can’t make at least a little political hay out of this, then he really is inept.

  19. DJIA- 10600.65 +235.20
    Oh noes! If we don’t pass this bill …

    Jim Cramer is shilling hard for this bill (I watched him last night), and I believe he said we’d see another downslide today, and that now the fear wasn’t about inflation, but deflation.

    Won’t someone think of what deflation will do for those who do not already own a home, as well as for the exchange rate, which has steadily been getting worse over the past 5 years?

    Somehow the excuse “for the Children” has given way to “for the Retirees.” Funny, that.

  20. First and foremost, the American people opposed this bailout by a landslide.

    And the house is the most susceptible of the players to public pressure.

  21. First and foremost, the American people opposed this bailout by a landslide.

    Yes, they did.

    However, they support some theoretical resuce package by a solid majority.

  22. Somehow the excuse “for the Children” has given way to “for the Retirees.” Funny, that.

    Maybe the common denominator is diapers?

  23. “Maybe the common denominator is diapers?”

    Procter and Gamble is running the show! I knew it! (Remember their devil logo!)

  24. Jim Cramer is the first guy I’d like to see living in a cardboard box as a result of this what-ever-the-fuck-it-is.

    The CNBC monkey troop has latched onto “a vocal majority of malcontents and misguided lunatics has tricked the Congress into believing America does not support This Desperately Necessary Reskyooo” as their theme for the day.

  25. -OOPS-

    Should be: vocal minority

    goddammit!

    [must have been some weird Freudian slip]

  26. Dow: up three hunnert.

    Hmmmmmm

  27. Here’s the video of Flake’s floor speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LymRr0CEIwk.

  28. P Brooks,

    Up 300!?!?!?! Oh, NO! The sky is rising, the sky is rising!

    Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?

  29. We are investigating the possibility of forming a PAC to run ads opposing Congressmen who voted for the bailout. Anyone who is seriously interested in seeing this happen, either by providing funding, expertise, or time, please contact us at constituentresponse@gmail.com. If enough people are interested and funding is available, there is still time before the election to make an impact.

  30. Or maybe they voted no because of this…..

    http://www.maplight.org/node/43109

  31. We’re supposedly in a liquidity crunch at the moment b/c lenders crammed all the cash down the sub-prime black hole. Now that we’re pretty damn sure that it’s a one way trip for every dollar bill we chuck in that direction, why in the hell would we suck any more cash out of the economy through taxes and/or public borrowing and give it to “struggling homeowners”?

    A bailout is supposed to remove water from a sinking boat, not add it.

    This whole “Main Street” ruse has pols trying to fix puddles when the dam’s fixing to break.

  32. Donna Edwards, a Maryland Democrat elected this year (in a primary then a special election) on the backs of bloggers and the SEIU. One of the majority of black caucus members who couldn’t go back home and argue for welfare for Wall Street.

    This will most likely be the first, and only, time I agree with my elected representative, for whom I did not vote.

  33. Pirates die strangely after taking Iranian ship

    “What’s in the trunk?”

    “Well, it’s not a dead alien.”

  34. DJIA – 10723.94 +358.49 (3.46%) Sep 30 1:36pm ET

    That’s about half of yesterdays “record” loss, right?

  35. they support some theoretical resuce package by a solid majority.

    How does it poll if you replace the word “rescue” with the word “bailout?” We could win a packet playing buzz word bingo.

  36. Hey, Congressman,

    “Any plan that puts taxpayer money at risk must . . .”

    Unless the bill is paying for the defense of the country against Mongolian hordes pouring across the Canadian border, that sentence should conclusde with the phrase “be defeated.”

  37. sage,

    The polls show wildly different results when you change the wording.

  38. David Brooks’ NYT column today is titled “Revolt of the Nihilists.”
    Nihilists? Fuck me. Say what you want about the tenents of crony capitalism, but at least it is an ethos.

  39. Vee believe in nozzing, Lebowski! Nozzing!

  40. Thanks, joe. I thought as much.

    Remember that $12 billion in cash that was put on pallets and sent to Iraq to jump start their economy? And it’s gone, all of it. I think one reason so many folks are agains this is that they finally understand that our politicians cannot be responsible with such large amounts of money.

    Mark my words. When/if this bill is passed, we’ll hear in six months or so about so many cases of fraud and waste ala the Katrina debit cards that people will just shake their head and go back to watching Dancing with the Stars. Nothing to see here, move along.

  41. P Brooks,

    I was just thinking about a plate of shimp.

  42. From Flake’s speech:

    “Those who think they can control the market’s invisible hand will eventually be slapped by it.”

    Dave Weigel, I call on you to make that the quote of the week.

  43. I contacted my democratic rep(Delahunt) in district 10 of MA numerous times and encouraged many others too as well. I explained that I didn’t want to add to the national debt(to be paid for by my 5 and 3 year old) merely to benefit Bill Gross/Goldman Sachs/JP Morgan Chase etc.

    I also said that, while I am in favor of free markets, if I HAD to be paying for socialist programs I’d rather that direct payments be made to the 10% of the population that is the poorest….regardless of status as renter or mortgage holder.

    Then I indicated a group of friends and I would be visibily supporting another democrat in the upcoming election if he voted “yes” for the bailout.

    I know other freedom advocates in my area did the same.
    I don’t know if it made a differnce but Delhunt voted NO. So that was a nice surprise.

  44. JW | September 30, 2008, 1:15pm | #
    “Donna Edwards, a Maryland Democrat elected this year (in a primary then a special election) on the backs of bloggers and the SEIU. One of the majority of black caucus members who couldn’t go back home and argue for welfare for Wall Street.”

    This will most likely be the first, and only, time I agree with my elected representative, for whom I did not vote.

    From the sound of it either she or her assistants actually looked at what they were voting on.

  45. Joe,

    However, they support some theoretical resuce package by a solid majority.

    Yes they do, but I suspect the more they learn about the details, the less they will like it, that is, the more they will be inclined to reject it.
    It’s an odd situation–congress is determined to pass something but I don’t know what they can come up with, that most voters would support.

  46. Sage,

    I think one reason so many folks are agains this is that they finally understand that our politicians cannot be responsible with such large amounts of money.

    What’s that funny line from PJ O’Rourke? “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys”.

    heh.

  47. DJIA – 10733.26 +367.81 (3.55%) Sep 30 3:22pm ET

    It’s financial armageddon if we don’t immediately pass this bailout.

  48. Donna Edwards, a Maryland Democrat elected this year (in a primary then a special election) on the backs of bloggers and the SEIU. One of the majority of black caucus members who couldn’t go back home and argue for welfare for Wall Street.

    This will most likely be the first, and only, time I agree with my elected representative, for whom I did not vote.

    I’m with you, JW, but do be sure to call her to thank her for voting against it and urge her to stay strong on Thursday.

  49. DJIA – 10733.26 +367.81 (3.55%) Sep 30 3:22pm ET

    I’m surprised by this. Paulson should be hung in effigy on the streets. He was obviously lying two weeks ago when he started promoting this package.

  50. This is why you can’t trust women in positions of power. They don’t have enough judgement not to trust a handsome, silver-tongued Texan whose name sounds like another word for “erect penis”.

  51. investing in infrastructure to create good-paying jobs is effectively dead

    Good. Public works projects do not create jobs, except in the most trivial sense.

    Why aren’t we helping American families faced with bankruptcy

    Because, idiot, if you allow bankruptcy judges to impair the obligation of contracts by rewriting them only AAA borrowers get mortgages, which will destroy the housing market.

  52. If you haven’t read Michael Hudson, Kucinnich’s former economic adviser he is an interesting read. He offers a paradigm of the economy he refers to as FIRE–Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate. This sector he sets in opposition to
    Labor and Industry. He suggests that we’ve lifted taxes essentially on the FIRE sector while throwing most of our taxes upon Labor and Industry.

    He has argued for allowing home prices to fall, making homes more affordable for many. Rather than throwing money to stabilize overpriced homes. His writing can regularly be found at http://www.CounterPunch.com

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