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Bailout: Deal Or Trap?

Apparently, there's a tentative deal for a revised bailout plan on the Hill, and lawmakers now hope to get it ready for an announcement before Asian m

Apparently, there's a tentative deal for a revised bailout plan on the Hill, and lawmakers now hope to get it ready for an announcement before Asian markets open on Monday and a quick vote.

According to Reuters today, the deal involves:

- A structured layout where $300 billion would be allocated immediately, $100 billion would be reserved under presidential discretion for later allocation if needed and the remaining $350 billion under only the say-so of Congress.

- Taxpayers would gain stock warrants in companies using bailout money - an asset stake and an opportunity for future profits to recompense any federal outlay.

- Executives would have their Golden Parachutes cut off if their company used bailout money.

- There will be an oversight board and management also would be under close scrutiny by Congress' investigative arm and an independent inspector general.

- the government could use its power as the owner of mortgages and mortgage-backed securities to help more struggling homeowners modify the terms of their home loans.

- "In the end, House Republicans won support for a provision that would create a privately funded insurance program for mortgage-backed securities, congressional aides said."

- "Democrats jettisoned proposals that would have put money into a trust fund for affordable housing and would have allowed judges to alter the terms of mortgages for bankrupt borrowers, according to aides."

Of course, there's a possibility that Dems will fall into a trap of the GOP's making. Republican talking heads are still urging the GOP to walk away from the bailout or various provisions of the deal. They're simply playing politics with imminent financial disaster, aware that most people are outraged that taxpayers are having to bail out fat-cats at banks and investment houses and fanning that outrage in an attempt to tie Bush and the bailout to Democrats before the November elections. They're hoping, in their zeal, that people will forget that it was Republican pushes for deregulation and lack of oversight (the "free" market) that caused the problem in the first place.

Meanwhile, John McCain's campaign is getting ready to jump on whichever bandwagon looks like it will travel farthest. Today on the talking heads shows, "at the same time that Sen. John McCain was saying that he didn't deserve credit for getting a economic bailout package to the brink of completion, his campaign's chief strategist was arguing that the Senator played an integral role".

And it's still uncertain that House leaders can drum up enough votes to pass the bill over Republican obstructionism for petty political ends. It's telling that they expect to get their Republican support from those not facing re-election this year - in other words, those Republicans who can vote for sense instead of political grandstanding.

So yes, it might become a political trap for Dems. But what else to do? Play the same game as the Republicans and watch the economy go down? This isn't just about big numbers, it's about people's lives. Even if the people who would all be affected don't quite get that, no matter how unpleasant it is to save the fat-cats asses, the fat-cats have put us in the position where it's unavoidable if we're to save our own asses too. The bailout may not work - there are many who say it won't - but in the meantime, Dems will have tried to shield common folk from the massive social and lifestyle fallout of a crash. That's worth doing, in my view, even at this horrendous price tag.

Crossposted from Newshoggers

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