The megabillion bailout better be transparent


Most of us are still trying to wrap our heads around the fiscal crisis also known as the US banking system.   I’m listening now to the Bush economics crew (Cox, Paulson, Bernanke)  in their congressional testimony.

It is too early to analyze how we went from an economy these guys were describing as healthy to an economy these guys now say is teetering on the brink of economic collapse, but it’s very clear now that the Bush adminstration, and to a lesser extent a clearly incompetent “do nothing” congress, have over the past several years failed to prevent the worst financial crisis since 1929.    Completely reckless Government spending and irresponsible fiscal policy were present during this debacle and it’s tempting to blame the problems on Government’s failure to prevent Wall Street from excesses that were totally predictable – namely always trying to turn a buck and fighting regulations that would inhibit profit making, regardless of the long term effects on the economy.

Ron Paul has what to me is the most thoughtful take on the situation to date, though it seems there is now a near consensus among economic experts that failing to do the bailout will lead to catastrophe.   I have not heard enough to make an informed decision, but I am very concerned that there will not be enough transparency in this process.

I want *every dime* of my tax money accounted for in this process.  I want information on *every salary* of everybody I’m bailing out, and I want CEOs held fully accountable even if that has some short term problems with stability.   Accountability matters.

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About JoeDuck

Internet Travel Guy, Father of 2, small town Oregon life. BS Botany from UW Madison Wisconsin, MS Social Sciences from Southern Oregon. Top interests outside of my family's well being are: Internet Technology, Online Travel, Globalization, China, Table Tennis, Real Estate, The Singularity.
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10 Responses to The megabillion bailout better be transparent

  1. glenn says:

    I like what Palin did in Alaska…put the checkbook online to see every transaction. Sounds like a good idea.

    I can’t wait to see the pork piled on this bailout it will far eclipse anything that has ever been tried in Washington.

    Aren’t you guys all sick of the waste?

  2. JoeDuck says:

    Online would be great. I think you are probably right that congress is already trying to figure ways to heap unrelated and unnecessary spending into this jaw dropping number which is so large it’s not comprehensible in a practical way.

    It’s really tempting to agree with Paul that it’s time to let the chips fall where they may and rebuild from there with a more stable system. Some of our current “prosperity” has been built on the backs of our kids by saddling them with what will soon be 11 trillion in debt. That’s go to stop, and I hope we all start to *demand* a balanced budget amendment.

  3. glenn says:

    If they just would let the market do what it needs…we would all be better off. Too many games, too many lobbyists and too many regulations all with NO accountability.

    It is time to fix this. We also need to review all the tariff and tax measures they put in place to stymie product sales, etc.

    Let the consumer decide what they want.

    To balance all of this they should eliminate the cap gains tax completely – investment would soar in this country and there would be enough capital for literally anything we wanted or needed to do.

    They should also prohibit inheritance tax – double taxation PERIOD and clearly wrong.

  4. JoeDuck says:

    Proponents are saying the bailout is actually just a big Govt investment which will probably return most if not more than the 700 billion. I hope that’s true.

  5. glenn says:

    Slippery slope and at this level they would own a majority position within these companies – they are no longer private industry at that point and if anyone believes that the government which maintains a majority interest in anything will sit back and not interfere – well then they believe that Obama can spend as much as he says he is and give a tax break to 95% of working Americans.

    Both are pipe-dreams. This is the biggest wake up call we could ever get – time to look at the facts and take a prudent and measured path with as little government intervention as possible.

    Keep in mind…people that couldn’t afford a mortgage should have never been given one – I feel bad for what is happening to people but did they actually believe this could continue and somehow magically they were going to be able to afford it? This country should look closely to the people that benefited financially from Fannie and Freddie – they all turned a blind eye to what was obviously going on here. They should all be tossed from office.

    Can you imagine AIG running like the DMV?

  6. Tommo says:

    The Federal “checkbook” is online — I don’t remember the URL but it’s probably under OMB.

  7. JoeDuck says:

    Tommo – of course you are right:

    http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/federal_govt_finances_employment.html

    I’m trying to track down an open link for a budget that is carved up by taxpayer contribution to each item in the budget.

    IMHO this would be a *fantastic* time to cut Federal spending massively as part of an economic stimulous package that would 1) Cancel all the middle class entitlements many of us foolishly hold dear and 2) Slash base and heavy cap military in favor of highly targeted strike teams and a more isolationist posture. Big spenders for military say the world needs to see the problems that’ll happen without our military intervention – so let them see them and let’s save some money. Frankly I think lower US mil spending would *decrease* international tension and conflict, but that’s debatable. However it’s testable without any risk so … let’s test it.

  8. glenn says:

    Tommo…yes and no. I knew the budgets were online but not the actual checkbook.

    Point is..on any given day you can see the actual expenditures…the actual check written.

    Without the actual checkbook there can be no accountability…any accountant can make any ledger or balance sheet look the way you want total wise.

    The devil is in the details.

    It would be nice to see the actual checks cut for a bill that is passed – you would clearly see the pork and we could clearly take issue with it.

    They would never want this because once we all understood the unnecessary spending that occurs we would be fit to be tied!

    If we don’t try to capture the idea of true accountability now…we will never get it again and we will only be telling Washington…keep it up…keep spending widely on whatever pork you want.

    A bill should only have the spending attached to it that supports the bill that is passed – enough is enough.

  9. Tommo says:

    OK, boys. I gotta go play with my compiler, but here’s the website: http://www.usaspending.gov/

    Some background info on the enabling legislation and the data: http://www.usaspending.gov/aboutthissite.php

    Interestingly, the enabling legislation (Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006) was co-sponsored by Sen. Obama, and it has support from the Sunlight Foundation, who recently tore into Sen. Biden’s pork record:

    The underlying technology for USAspending.gov was developed by OMB Watch with the support of The Sunlight Foundation and is used on OMB Watch’s website located at FedSpending.org. USASpending.gov utilizes the public version of the FedSpending.org site as of September 2007 (v2.2). The data available on USAspending.gov is provided by the Federal Assistance Awards Data System (FAADS) and the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS).

  10. glenn says:

    Freddie and Fannie are key to this…

    Jack Welch stated it best today.

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