Monday, September 22, 2008

deep breath

While the Investment Banks continue to fall like dominoes on Wall Street, Congress should take a big step back before they sign off on this $700 Billion bill to do who knows what for our financial system.

Over the last few decades, Congress has slowly given the Presidency more and more of its Constitutionally-granted powers in the form of the creation of dozens of administrative agencies, and generally in the arena of foreign policy. The reasons for this are one part logistics/practicality and one part politics. If something goes wrong, it is always easier to making speeches or ask embarrassing questions than it is to actually do something about it.

This president has gone further than any president since Richard Nixon or Andrew Jackson or Thomas Jefferson in claiming the other branches are powerless to impede on his powers. Under the Cheney/Woo/Addington Unitary Executive theory, President Bush has eagerly grabbed powers no president before him has dared claim, and has been smacked down occasionally by the Supreme Court for it. Not that Bush paid much heed.

But Congress' contemplation of turning over the keys of the national economy to the Treasury Department and Fed is one step too far. Moreover, the amount of money in this bill--from what little we learn in the press--is greater than we have ever spent in Iraq and given to a president. Now is not the time for a handful Congressional "leaders" who have been in DC for decades to meet behind closed doors with the Administration and hammer out some phone book sized bill that will be rushed to a vote within hours.

Now is the time for hearings, advice from people who didn't cause the problem, and creative solutions to prevent more banks from collapsing before our eyes. Above all else, now is not the time to rush to judgment based on panicky calls from bankers in New York.

No comments: