[Above: Geithner discusses regulatory reform of the financial sector as he announces his bailout plan this morning.]
One of the reasons Obama is having trouble with the stimulus bill is that ordinary people lump it in with this steaming pile called the bank bailout:
WASHINGTON— The Obama administration’s new plan to bail out the nation’s banks was fashioned after a spirited internal debate that pitted the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, against some of the president’s top political hands.
In the end, Mr. Geithner largely prevailed in opposing tougher conditions on financial institutions that were sought by presidential aides, including David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the president, according to administration and Congressional officials.
Mr. Geithner, who will announce the broad outlines of the plan on Tuesday, successfully fought against more severe limits on executive pay for companies receiving government aid.
He resisted those who wanted to dictate how banks would spend their rescue money. And he prevailed over top administration aides who wanted to replace bank executives and wipe out shareholders at institutions receiving aid.
Because of the internal debate, some of the most contentious issues remain unresolved.
[...] Abandoning any pretense about limiting the moral hazards at companies that made foolhardy investments, the plan also will not require shareholders of companies receiving significant assistance to lose most or all of their investment. Some officials had suggested that the next bailout phase not protect existing shareholders. (Shareholders at most banks that fail will continue to lose their investment.)
I wait with interest to hear Obama explain why the people who put this country's economy into a nosedive should have no restrictions on how they spend our money!