Thursday, September 25, 2008

Congress (Dis)Agrees on Bailout Proposal

Here is Congress's "Agreement on Principles" for the Troubled Asset Relief Program:
1. Taxpayer Protection

a. Requires Treasury Secretary to set standards to prevent excessive or inappropriate executive compensation for participating companies

b. To minimize risk to the American taxpayer, requires that any transaction include equity sharing

c. Requires most profits to be used to reduce the national debt

2. Oversight and Transparency

a. Treasury Secretary is prohibited from acting in an arbitrary or capricious manner or in any way that is inconsistent with existing law

b. Establishes strong oversight board with cease and desist authority

c. Requires program transparency and public accountability through regular, detailed reports to Congress disclosing exercise of the Treasury Secretary’s authority

d. Establishes an independent Inspector General to monitor the use of the Treasury Secretary’s authority

e. Requires GAO audits to ensure proper use of funds, appropriate internal controls, and to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse

3. Homeownership Preservation

a. Maximize and coordinate efforts to modify mortgages for homeowners at risk of foreclosure

b. Requires loan modifications for mortgages owned or controlled by the Federal Government

c. Directs a percentage of future profits to the Affordable Housing Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund to meet America’s housing needs

4. Funding Authority

a. Treasury Secretary’s request for $700 billion is authorized, with $250 billion available immediately and an additional $100 billion released upon his or her certification that funds are needed

b. final $350 billion is subject to a Congressional joint resolution of disapproval
I see nothing in here that requires the Treasury to buy at market prices.

Update: Apparently, while Democrats are claiming they have a deal, Republicans are saying they don't.


  1. I see nothing in here that requires the Treasury to buy at market prices.

    Yes, but I see nothing in here that implies the converse either. Not enough here to say one way or the other.

    I wonder if this was by design - kick the can down the road, or perhaps leave pricing up to the discretion of the secretary.

  2. At least we get to bail out irresponsible borrowers as well.

  3. Have you looked who stands to gain the most from these bailouts? The Federal Reserve System.

  4. anonymous said...
    "Yes, but I see nothing in here that implies the converse either. Not enough here to say one way or the other."

    Bernanke implied the converse yesterday. Congress shouldn't vote to spend $700 billion if they don't know if it will be spent wisely.

    unamerican said...
    "At least we get to bail out irresponsible borrowers as well."

    Oh, of course. We shouldn't let any irresponsible people suffer as long as we can bail them out by taking money from responsible people.

  5. Any readers opposed to the currently discussed bailout bill--It appeaars that a protest is being planned for the West lawn on Sat. Below, I have cut and pasted CathyG's post from CR.
    Perhaps I'll see some of you there.

    CathyG writes:
    If anyone is in DC or able to get there by Saturday, the folks at FedUpUSA are planning a protest: post=62255

    UPDATE: Thursday 4:00 pm

    OK, we have a verbal go ahead from the Capital Police. They have been most helpful in fast tracking the permit. I will have final approval in the AM, but make plans to be there.

    Right now, I need anyone local to DC to get in touch with me to do a little planning.

    Most importantly, please get the word out to any and all websites, blogs etc that we will be rallying in DC this Saturday on the West lawn. We have the area from 10:00am to 6:00 pm.

    Even if the bill has already been voted up or down, we need to make our voices heard!
    CathyG | 09.25.08 - 5:23 pm | #

  6. I am sure most of us who are interested in the current US economic situation, particularly the housing situation and mortgage blunders, have heard the President’s address to the nation—September 24th 2008—which took about twelve minutes to explain to the nation as to what happened and what the feds should do to possibly correct it. The gist of his address, as I understood, was help us to help you.

    That’s all fine. As I’ve responded to many blogs regarding the very subject of the economy, our current situation began brewing over a decade ago. Of course, he did not waste any time to stress the latter, because he was not the Commander in Chief then. Am I to understand that in the past eight years of his presidency nobody in his administration could foresee this problem coming? And now that it has occurred and everything is surfaced up they knew that potential problems existed a decade ago? He just told the nation why. Money was plentiful, people spent, spent and spent, credit approval standards were low, financial institutions made loans left and right, Freddie and Fannie got fatter and became gigantic dollar bombs waiting to go off. And, indeed, they did, along with many other smaller institutions.

    Here is the point: I am not quite confident if this $700b taxpayers’ money to be a success in terms of stimulated economy. This may cost each taxpayer $2,000 - $3,000 (figures are rough, maybe more). I know the situation is critical. What if it doesn’t help? Some folks can’t afford to part with this kind of money, it’s hard for them as it is, although the contributing taxpayer will be repaid.

    The president’s address was simple and straightforward. He said that this is not normal economic circumstances. His reasoning was logical, but then again, name one politician that has sounded illogical when addressing the nation. I personally have mixed feelings about this massive bailout, but if it works, then I’m one happy camper. We’ve suffered enough in the past 30 months or so.

    I expressed my view, as above, in a blog, yesterday and today—September 25th 2008—I heard the Congress has indeed given the President the green light for his $700b bailout.

    Latest victim: Washington Mutual? Just heard it on the news while writing this.

  7. I dont care what they do as long as they purge this toxic debt from the larger economy - give them 700B - give them $1 - I dont care - just get it out of the system so the survivors can move forward without fear that putting money into one of these guys is putting it into a WAMU type timebomb that could go off any minute.

    Ted spread is way too high. Get it down to just very high levels, and the rest of the markets will respond.