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Why the Bailout Bill Really Failed

    All sorts of notions have been put forward as to why the bailout bill failed, with fingers pointed just about everywhere. But the real reason is a rather simple one. Under our constitutional scheme, Congress isn't designed to act that fast -- with the exception of a declaration of war. The idea that a Treasury Secretary could announce a crisis that no one can yet really see, come up with a plan that would largely give him enormous and unpreceented power to solve it, and that Congress would go along immediately was crazy. Our Founding Fathers envisioned a system where Congress would act deliberately, if at all. The remarkable thing wasn't that the bailout bill didn't pass; it's that it got 205 votes and almost did become law. That's not to say there isn't a real credit crunch that demands a solution. It's only that our system, for better or worse, isn't supposed to work in the way the proponents of this legislation wanted it to work. And, in fact, it didn't.                                                                                                            








  • LorenzoJennifer said:

    Maine's very own Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman elected to both the US House of Representatives and Senate and herself, like Bush, a Republican, called Congress "the greatest deliberative body in the world."  If anything, Congress is faulted for being maddeningly s-l-o-w. Process, protocol and deference to seniority mark the snail's pace of legislation going through the House and Senate.  Caution especially characterizes the House as members have to face their constituents every two years.  Bush's attempt to ramrod the federal bailout bill through the House of Representatives reminds one of his rush to judgment in getting Congressional approval to invade Iraq.  His administration seems dismissive of the separation of powers in the U.S. government.  His attempted appointment of Harriet Miers, a Texas legal buddy, to a Supreme Court vacancy shows his disregard for the Judicial branch. Bush can afford to be as cavalier as he's been in the bailout boggle.  He and Cheney leave office in January 2009 and never again have to face the voters.  

    The federal bailout bill concentrates power in the hands of Treasury Secretary Paulson.  Yet, Paulson - like Bush - leaves office in January 2009, 3-4 months from now.  His successor will have to deal with the devils dwelling in the details of any federal bailout package passed between now and then.

    October 1, 2008 5:08 PM

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