Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Dear LawDog"

A Gentle Reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, has sent me a passionate, eloquent, elegantly researched missive as to why the $700 billion dollar bailout is vital to these United States. This communique is ended with the question -- entirely reasonable -- as to what it would take for me to support the bailout.

The answer to that question is simple:

To paraphrase R. Lee Ermey's immortal character in
'Full Metal Jacket' -- I want the common courtesy of a reach-around.

If you're going to do me to the tune of "my fair share" of 700 billion dollars, I want something in return. I don't want pretty pillow promises; I don't want vague "You'll probably get something nice in a couple of years -- we hope"; I want it now.

If Congress presents legislation for a 700 billion dollar bail-out, with the provision that all Federal Welfare Acts will be repealed at the same time ...

Okay, you've got my support.

Quid pro quo, Gentle Readers. Something for something.

If Congress presents legislation for a 700 billion dollar bail-out, with the added provision that the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Federal Firearms Act of 1938 and the Gun Control Act of 1968 are repealed ...

Okay, you've got my support.

That's what it's going to take.

You put your heads together and come up with 700 billion dollars worth of meddlesome, unConstitutional, pork-barrel, ignorant, illogical, crap Federal laws -- you tie their repeal to the bail-out -- and we'll talk.

Until then -- no. You do not get my support.

Now, I'm going to go hand-write letters to my Federal Congresscritter, my Federal Senatecritter, the Republican National Committee, and the Democratic National Committee expressing -- politely, firmly, and with as much eloquence as I can summons -- exactly how angry the thought of a $700 billion dollar bail-out makes this voting tax-payer.

LawDog

38 comments:

JD said...

"If Congress presents legislation for a 700 billion dollar bail-out, with the added provision that the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Federal Firearms Act of 1938 and the Gun Control Act of 1968 are repealed ..."

I think I need them to also state that the Second Amendment is an individual right (and can not be infringed in any way with the exception of someone with mental illness) and recognized as such invalidating any state laws infringing on it too. . . Then we can talk. . .

Dustin said...

I find it very amusing that the press is surprised that many of the lawmakers who voted no, voted that way because of the outpouring of derision from their constituents, especially from those districts that are facing already tight races.

It's like they're surprised that the politicians are listening to the people. Oh, wait, they are surprised, and probably should be.

erik said...

dustin,
in the leftist mindset, one of the main objectives of the journalists and politicians are to "educate" the unwashed masses.
So they sincerely believe that politicians shouldn't do what the people want, because people dont understand what's best for them. Instead, politicians should "lead" by doing the "right" thing, despite of the wishes of the voters.

In my country, they more or less say it flat out.

JT said...

I'd very likely be satisfied with something in the bill that addresses not only the "how do we bail out this boat" but also the "how do we patch the hole in the bottom that caused it all". Repeal of the 1978 Community Reinvestment Act (thanks Carter!) along with the 1995 revisions (thanks Clinton!) that forced the lenders to abandon their fiscal & economic intelligence to pursue risky loans that they'd never have accepted without government direction would be a great start.

That, and removal of the awful "at no one's discretion but that of the SecTreas, and totally non-reviewable by anyone" language.

SteveC said...

Back in 1990, the Government seized the Mustang Ranch brothel in Nevada and, as required by law, tried to run it. They failed and it closed. We are trusting the economy of our country to a pack of nit-wits who couldn't make money selling sex to truckers.

Don't count on getting those gun law repeals. The pack of weasels that likes gun laws tends to look at the Depression and FDR as the Good Old Days. They would rather let it fail.

RoaVaPD said...

Oh! Oh! I love this!

How about I support the $700 billion bailout pending passage of HR 25 and repealing the 16th Amendment.

John said...

Actually, eric, it's as much a conservative mindset as a liberal one: We ALL want our elected officials to do what WE want, not what THEY want, yes?

Oh and jt? The legislation that Carter and Clinton signed was sponsored and pushed by ...
Phil "Nation of Whiners" Gramm, Rep. of Texas.

As well as a lot of others. Presidents sign bills, Members and Senators bring them in. Plenty of blame to go around, methinks...

And on Forbes.com, we find out that Treasury picked the $700 Billion out of thin air: "We just wanted a really large number", said a treasury dept. spokesperson.

Repeal a bunch of legislation, indeed. Best idea I've heard yet. And I'm a flaming LIBERAL.

Off to write...

erik said...

john,
sorry, but the "educate the masses" is typically leftist. It's not the same as politicians doing something I dont want, this is the view that politicians should do what's considered "right" and "enlightened", and not care what their voters want. This view claims that politicians and journalists job is to educate the unwashed masses, and make sure the masses understands what the "right" decision is.
Like now, when they dont mention Ayers, Rezko, ACORN, etc, because that might make the masses take the "wrong" decision. Same with not mentioning which of the presidential candidates was funded by Fannie Mae. That could be a "distraction" for the masses, and make them do the "wrong" thing.

Daran said...

What probably would work:
1> the bail-out is a loan, and should be repaid in full and with interest,
2> as long as any part of the loan is outstanding, all bonuses, options and other performance related payments at the firm in question are subject to government review and votes in Senate and House,
3> participating firms are forbidden from lobbying government in any way (have directors swear on that and wave pictures of Martha Steward in their face).

I don't think many congress critters will vote to approve those bonuses.

Outbreak said...

I'm thinking that if the Bill said something like "The irresponsible borrowers and irresponsible lenders are gonna have to pay the bill for this one. The Federal Government is not your rich uncle. You may declare bankruptcy at your convenience," then I'd support it.
I really don't think that the money is coming from the taxpayers. In conjunction with the two bailout bills (Fannie Mac, and the current one) congress has already raised the limit on the national debt to over $9 trillion, and the bill on the floor right now proposes to put it over $11 trillion. We're not paying for it; China is, and they're happy to help.

TBeck said...

Well, today I tried to email my congress critter. The House email server was jammed, so I called his local office instead.

I put forth the modest proposal that since the public does not want the Treasury to actually buy these securities, perhaps we can allow the banks to borrow against them instead.

The Federal Reserve already accepts securities as collateral for its discount window lending operations to financial institutions.

Normally that collateral is pledged at market value. In the case of these securities, the market value is not available because the market has frozen.

So, I proposed that the Fed loan against the securtities at 30% of face value. These securities have intrinsic value, we just aren't sure what is is. A seventy percent discount on the collateral value does not seem unreasonable in this case.

The goal here is to unfreeze the credit markets so that banks will lend to each other again. My proposal won't fix the problem of mark-to-market and the effect it has on the banks' balance sheets, but it will give the banks a source of liquidity at a time when they desperately need it.

If Congress decides to adopt my idea, I'll settle for a consulting fee of no more than one basis point of the face value of the transactions.;)

Old NFO said...

Better write, cause they sure as hell are NOT answering the phone... Spent 1 1/2 hours on hold and never did get through yesterday (and yes I have a call timer on the phone).

Rorschach said...

erik my friend, no offense, but they just might have a point. After all, you and all of your countrymen still live there.

All of us get the government we deserve.

Shawn said...

I agree 100%

Private Thoughts said...

Well said as usual Lawdog.

Peter said...

I like your plan, Dawg, even if the politicians won't!

My take on the financial crisis:

http://tinyurl.com/4unm55

(on my blog)

Smoke said...

From comments posted here, I believe there are a lot of folks who are only listening to what the media is telling them about the bail-out and have not read the legislation. Fundamentally I'm against it also. But some of what folks are saying should be done....is!

Anonymous said...

Fannie Mae is funding a political candidate? I find that utterly, completely, totally outrageous.
In other words, if Fannie Mae gets bailed out, it's my tax money that will do it, hence I shall have paid into the slush fund of a politicritter critter without any say in the matter.
I have no words.
LawMom

Derius Thoran said...

I might support the bailout if a law was passed limiting the terms of ANY government official to a 1 year term, with no option of reelection.

That way, insider political interests, voting for friends/funds/ect, and all of the things politicians use to make laws and votes besides their common sense would disappear.

If they don't have to do shady deals and play ball to ensure their re election, then that pressure disappears. They could go in, pass some laws that make some sense, then get out, with a decent pension.

Thats just one off the top of my head. Although the repeal of the firearms laws and a definite vote on the individual right of the 2nd would be nice.

Dustin said...

Derius, you had me until, "decent pension". Why would a politician need a "decent pension" for serving his/her country for one year?

Dregan said...

Hey 'Dog, would you mind if I send a few links to this post to my Congress Critter and Senatorial Slimeball?

wolfwalker said...

As somebody who posted comments supporting the buyout plan in your previous post, LD, I feel compelled to say that not only do I understand your demand for some sort of quid pro quo, I'm coming to agree with it. The more I hear about the situation, the less I think Congress needs to do anything at all.

See, the problem (as I said before) is the credit crisis. The credit crisis was brought on by the "mark to market" rule as applied to mortgage-backed securities. Now the head of SEC is saying that they have the authority to soften the mark-to-market rule WRT mortgage-backed securities. That may well be all the corrective action that the market needs.

KJR said...

Beautiful; but add FairTax (HR25) and do something about Garner V Tennessee.

Robin said...

stevec @3:19 PM -

You're assuming they wanted to run the Mustang Ranch at a profit. I find the "We find owning a brothel distasteful and bad PR, so let's run it into the ground as fast as we can so we can declare it bankrupt" explanation much more likely, myself.

AlisonH said...

There's an editorial in the Washington Post today that makes excellent sense at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/30/AR2008093002316.html ,the premise being, have the feds buy up the failed mortgages rather than failed Wall Street. They can renegotiate the terms of the loans via Freddy Mae and Mac, own real estate for their money spent, and for once we'd be working based on a trickle UP theory rather than down. I like it.

Simeron Steelhammer said...

"Now, I'm going to go hand-write letters to my Federal Congresscritter, my Federal Senatecritter..."

I do want to note that the Senatecritter and a Congresscritter is the same critter technically.

The Representacritter is the Congresscritter I know..but..jest saying.

Apart from that...I can think of a few more things that would get me to support that $700 billion dollar tag...as I know many others could to.

But what gets me is didn't we go through something like this before with the Savings and Loan bailout a few years back?

TBeck said...

The terrible irony is that the SEC is now suggesting, rather timidly, that if firms cannot obtain valid market prices for their securities, the firms should substitute the present value of the expected cash flows.

Blink, blink.

Now why didn't I think of that? Just imagine, the same pricing method that applies to bonds and just about every other form of structured payment vehicles could be applied to these structured payment vehicles!

Shakespeare suggested first killing all of the lawyers. I would like to add a caveat that then they go after federal regulators. If there is any rope left the legislative branch can get some attention.

If the SEC had had this blinding flash of sense six months ago, none of us would be having this conversation right now.

markm said...

The very first thing that should go into the pot to fund that $700 billion is Congress's pensions.

Fat chance of that...

Gay_Cynic said...

FWIW, I'm sending my congress-critters a copy of this entry. It pretty much says what I want to, but better.

Max said...

Lawdog the scary thing is about the bill is that we are going to be paying higher taxes to cover foreign debt. The majority of this money will be leaving the country. I am pretty sure that this will effectively bankrupt the our nation. The U.S. has been hemmoraging money for years and there are very few real assets left. We have screwed our children's future.

Kristopher said...

How about decimating the congress as compensation?

Do it in proper Roman fashion.

Anonymous said...

Andhere are just a few of the goodies to help unfreeze the credit markets. From the folks at Agora Publishing:

"What started as a three-page “blank check” request for $700 billion to buy “toxic” assets on Wall Street, has now passed the Senate as a 451-page pork-laden piece of detritus. Ian sifted through the table of contents for tax exemptions and picked out a few of his favorites:

Sec. 101: Extension of alternative minimum tax relief for nonrefundable personal credits.
Sec. 102: Extension of increased alternative minimum tax exemption amount.
Sec. 201: Deduction for state and local sales taxes.
Sec. 202: Deduction of qualified tuition and related expenses.
Sec. 203: Deduction for certain expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers.
Sec. 204: Additional standard deduction for real property taxes for nonitemizers.
Sec. 205: Tax-free distributions from individual retirement plans for charitable purposes.
Sec. 304: Extension of look-thru rule for related controlled foreign corporations.
Sec. 305: Extension of 15-year straight-line cost recovery for qualified leasehold improvements and qualified restaurant improvements; 15-year straight-line cost recovery for certain improvements to retail space.
Sec. 307: Basis adjustment to stock of S corporations making charitable contributions of property.
Sec. 308: Increase in limit on cover over of rum excise tax to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Sec. 309: Extension of economic development credit for American Samoa.
Sec. 310: Extension of mine rescue team training credit.
Sec. 311: Extension of election to expense advanced mine safety equipment.
Sec. 312: Deduction allowable with respect to income attributable to domestic production activities in Puerto Rico.
Sec. 314: Indian employment credit.
Sec. 315: Accelerated depreciation for business property on Indian reservations.
Sec. 316: Railroad track maintenance.
Sec. 317: Seven-year cost recovery period for motorsports racing track facility.
Sec. 318: Expensing of environmental remediation costs.
Sec. 319: Extension of work opportunity tax credit for Hurricane Katrina employees.
Sec. 320: Extension of increased rehabilitation credit for structures in the Gulf Opportunity Zone.
Sec. 321: Enhanced deduction for qualified computer contributions.
Sec. 322: Tax incentives for investment in the District of Columbia.
Sec. 323: Enhanced charitable deductions for contributions of food inventory.
Sec. 324: Extension of enhanced charitable deduction for contributions of book inventory.
Sec. 325: Extension and modification of duty suspension on wool products; wool research fund; wool duty refunds.
Sec. 401: Permanent authority for undercover operations [as related to tax provisions].
Sec. 402: Permanent authority for disclosure of information relating to terrorist activities [as related to tax provisions].
Sec. 501: $8,500 income threshold used to calculate refundable portion of child tax credit.
Sec. 502: Provisions related to film and television productions.
Sec. 503: Exemption from excise tax for certain wooden arrows designed for use by children.
Sec. 504: Income averaging for amounts received in connection with the Exxon Valdez litigation.
Sec. 505: Certain farming business machinery and equipment treated as five-year property.
Sec. 506: Modification of penalty on understatement of taxpayer’s liability by tax return preparer.
Sec. 601: Secure rural schools and community self-determination program.
Sec. 602: Transfer to abandoned mine reclamation fund.
Sec. 702: Temporary tax relief for areas damaged by 2008 Midwestern severe storms, tornados and flooding.
Sec. 704: Temporary tax-exempt bond financing and low-income housing tax relief for areas.
Sec. 709: Waiver of certain mortgage revenue bond requirements following federally declared disasters.
Sec. 710: Special depreciation allowance for qualified disaster property.
Sec. 711: Increased expensing for qualified disaster assistance property.

Seriously, did they think no one was going to read this thing? “Increase in limit on cover over of rum excise tax to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands”? “Seven-year cost recovery period for motorsports racing track facility”? “Extension and modification of duty suspension on wool products; wool research fund; wool duty refunds”?"

Enjoy. By sending it back to the House, odds are we'll see more additions.

Art

easily lost said...

I went to sleep last night waiting to hear if the house passes a 700 billion dollar bailout, I woke up this morning to hear it has somehow increased to 850 billion. I was only asleep for 5 hours, and somehow I woke to an alternate universe. I heard something about mental health, but half asleep as I was yet, the only coherent thought I could make was Good at least we can all get anger management once they are done screwing us.

Anonymous said...

I might support the bailout if a law was passed limiting the terms of ANY government official to a 1 year term, with no option of reelection.

That just means that the staffers, who aren't elected by anyone, will have all the institutional knowledge and power. The cure is worse than the disease.

As for the bailout, it strikes me funny that the richest marketeers who yell about "personal responsibility" the loudest won't take any for the mess they made. What, does personal responsibility only roll downhill, like sh_t?

--gidget commando

Chris M said...

I guess we should feel lucky that they didn't sneak in a new ugly gun ban. Uh, they didn't, did they?

Anonymous said...

Rather than Gunny Ermey's comment from FMJ, I was thinking more along the lines of Rutger Hauer in Wanted: Dead or Alive....

"If you're going to [boink] me, kiss me first."

Anonymous said...

"If you're going to [boink] me, kiss me first."
Too true.

Good god I never thought I'd see the day, but its here. Its time to find a way to replace these corupt favor lending congress critters. Barring that I would say dont reelect a fucking one of them till we get some real change for the better.

These people have forgoten who they work for and what their job is.

Anonymous said...

BUT. Where is my mother's pension money invested?
Is the Texas Education Agency's money in mortgages? Even partially?
Who else's pension funds may be affected by this?
How many more people may lose their homes, not to mention their essential livelihood through pension and support funds being invested by companies in what amounts to housing speculation?
How much will all the welfare and medicaid for these people cost us if we don't bail the idiots out?
Someone needs to crunch the numbers and project just exactly what can happen before bailing out or not bailing out.
Geronimo. Or Banzai?
Another argument for NOT privatizing Social Security!
LawMom