CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE AND SELECT TEN MORE, NOW!
It's still not a done deal, folks. But the House is going to vote sometime today, it looks like.
First read another excellent Stirling Newberry piece; this one is much less technical and spells out why this isn't a crisis that has to be met today and only on Bush/Paulson terms. If this is a crisis of confidence, then why aren't our elected officials reassuring us against panic, instead of inducing it.
And no, I don't believe the answer is that Pelosi, Dodd & Franks want to giveaway billions to Wall St., and don't believe they are "in the tank." I do believe that they been bamboozled.
What we have going for us is that the fear of the rest of Democratic congress critters that they are going to be left holding the bag, taking ownership of a bad Bush plan, and a situation which can and should be laid primarily at the feet of Republicans and the administration they supported so slavishly.
My advice, call your representative it makes sense, then call Kucinich and Kaptur's office to encourage their resistance and ask for guidance as to other members you should call to encourage a "no" vote. Check out the progressive caucus, call all of them.
Be disciplined about your message. There are other, better ways to deal with this crisis; we have institutions in place to deal with the liquidity problem, most of all, don't be rushed - if this is the wrong fix, who will be blamed? All the wrong Democratic people. Give them references to ask their Representative to look at - including Newberry, but also Dean Baker, all kinds of economists. Ask them to hold hearings. Most of all, Bush is talking about sending strong signals to the markets. Okay, why does it have to be Bush's message. Why not a Democratic message. We won't let you sink, but we won't be stampeded over a cliff. If this is that much of a crisis, then Wall St. shouldn't be setting the terms.
For inspiration: some bits from Newberry:
So where is the bill right now? A huge and complex version has just been issued, the last I checked the servers were still swamped to download copies of it. It contains dozens of provisions, but it is still the Paulson Proposal. Namely, he will issue new debt, and buy up unnamed assets. It is better than the original bill in a host of ways – a bill that was so bad that it exhausted the four letter words in the English language, and that is by people who were working to pass some form of the legislation.
Even in the best of times, it would be a huge risk to hand this much power to any executive branch. With an administration that has a track record of lawlessness and favoritism it is folly.
The reality is that there aren't the votes to pass this bill. There aren't the votes to pass this bill.
That's because, it is loaded with land mine Bush provisions. It's been publically doubted by Congress' own top economist.
The provisions that have been added are improvements, but they are window dressing on granting wide discretionary authority to the Treasury Secretary, and un-needed authority. As Ian Welsh notes, Paulson said himself that 150 billion would get us through January, just give him that, and then come back after we've had an election about this. (emphasis mine)
What you should do
It's simple really. Call your representatives and say No. Say it over and over again. Not to this bill, nor to any Paulson Panic bill. The bill is flawed, it is based on a lie. The truth is that the problems in the financial system are based on a bloated war spending binge that now hangs over us. The truth is that we don't need to give this blank check to Paulson now, but could give him a stabilization fund, and come back with a new Congress.
There are links embedded in the original.
Go read the whole thing, especially what Stirling has to say about his pride in what the blogisphere has done during the last week, and then go to it.