Accountability and your money? Spare me

I am getting so upset with the vile being directed towards the auto industry’s request for $25 billion because after the 700 billion dollars doled out to Wall St. (and they are still not lending!), we find out that the Department of Treasury just gave Wall St. a tax deal worth up to $140 billion. See the excerpt below form the Washington Post.

The financial world was fixated on Capitol Hill as Congress battled over the Bush administration’s request for a $700 billion bailout of the banking industry. In the midst of this late-September drama, the Treasury Department issued a five-sentence notice that attracted almost no public attention.

But corporate tax lawyers quickly realized the enormous implications of the document: Administration officials had just given American banks a windfall of as much as $140 billion.

The sweeping change to two decades of tax policy escaped the notice of lawmakers for several days, as they remained consumed with the controversial bailout bill. When they found out, some legislators were furious. Some congressional staff members have privately concluded that the notice was illegal. But they have worried that saying so publicly could unravel several recent bank mergers made possible by the change and send the economy into an even deeper tailspin.

“Did the Treasury Department have the authority to do this? I think almost every tax expert would agree that the answer is no,” said George K. Yin, the former chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the nonpartisan congressional authority on taxes. “They basically repealed a 22-year-old law that Congress passed as a backdoor way of providing aid to banks.”

It can not be said enough how much this financial bailout process mirrored the invasion of Iraq. Bush use fear tactics in asking demanding that Congress give him unchecked powers. Congress accepts this horrible framing and capitulates and then use Congressional hearings to explain why they voted the way they did while trying to lambast whoever they asked to appear before their committee. If it is so hard to be in Congress and do the right thing, don’t take the job!!!

If there is anything true about the Bush years is how Congress never debated saying no but they instead focused on trivial issues concerning oversight. It will be interesting to see how many on the hill will suddenly discover checks and balances under Obama.

Stay up fam,

Brandon Q.


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