On Tuesday, there were U.S. Senate Banking Committee hearings with Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson, and Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke — hearings aimed at analyzing the Bush administration’s “bailout plan” for the Wall Street investment firms.
As I heard it, the best bit was the exchange between New York’s Senator Charles Schumer and Secretary Paulson, which exchange I will summarize here, in my own words, not theirs:
Senator Schumer wondered if “only” $150 billion, rather than the $700 billion (or more) that they’re asking for, would be enough to get the recovery started, and then we could revisit the issue somewhere around, oh, say, 1/20/09, just to pick a date at random, and see how we’re doing. Hey, for all we know, that might do the trick, right?
Secretary Paulson said no, it wouldn’t, because this is really about
greed market confidence, and anything short of an obscene shitload the full amount would not instill the required confidence. And we have to act while Bush is still in office quickly, to avoid cutting him out of the windfall a meltdown.