Man, I wish I knew which Democratic lawmaker said this:
We may strip out all the gives to industry in the predatory mortgage lending bill that the House passed last November, which hasn't budged in the Senate, and include that in the bill. There are other ideas on the table but they are going to be tough to work out before next week.
I also find myself drawn to provisions that would serve no useful purpose except to insult the industry, like requiring the CEOs, CFOs and the chair of the board of any entity that sells mortgage related securities to the Treasury Department to certify that they have completed an approved course in credit counseling. That is now required of consumers filing bankruptcy to make sure they feel properly humiliated for being head over heels in debt, although most lost control of their finances because of a serious illness in the family. That would just be petty and childish, and completely in character for me.
I'm open to other ideas, and I am looking for volunteers who want to hold the sons of bitches so I can beat the crap out of them.
Unfortunately, that kind of anger and cojones are few and far between in DC, and another lawmaker outlines how he sees it going:
Here's the industry's play: progressives will approach Nancy with ideas for reform, and she'll agree to push for their proposals, and she'll really mean it. Then industry lobbyists will go to Dennis Moore, Melissa Bean and a few other Democrats, and tell them how dire the consequences of the proposals would be, and that the members who understand how the economy works need to step up to stop Nancy and the crazy liberals from doing something rash. Then those Democrats will go to Steny and tell him how terrible Nancy's crazy ideas would be, and how we can't rush into something like that without much, much more thought. [..] The only way, our leadership will conclude, to get anything at all passed is to include nothing more than the inconsequential proposals that the lobbyists agreed to. Then we'll all go along because it would be wildly irresponsible not to act when we're staring over the brink of a complete collapse of world financial markets.
I'd diagram it for you if I had a chalkboard. I've seen the play again and again, and it always goes for long yardage.
The only defense for the play is for a significant group of Democrats to say they won't vote for any proposal that isn't unpalatable to industry, and mean it. It's a pretty high stakes game of chicken, but otherwise we come out of this with nothing but a $700 billion giveaway to a crooked industry.
Pathetic. Gutless. Bad for America. But watch it happen. If you haven't already, please take a few minutes to contact your representatives to tell them not to give President Paulson a blank check. Faxes and letters have more impact than phone calls, and as always, stay polite.