Like It or Lump It
Congressional Democrats hold the cards in many ways on this. Paulson's objection to imposing CEO pay limits on takers of the bailout? Fine. They don't have to take the bailout. Don't like bankruptcy judges rewriting mortgage terms? Fine -- if the federal government owns those mortgages, the federal government becomes the other party to the mortgage, with the homeowner. It can do it without judges at all.
The Democrats' plans are mostly in line with each other, whether that's Chris Dodd's proposal, Barack Obama's four principles for any bailout, or Hillary Clinton's proposals (though several of hers don't seem to address the immediate crisis quite so well, but are all good mid-range proposals). All are related, all have good ideas Obama was making these same points back in March, for example and fortunately, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd seem to be on the same page here, so Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and even Barack Obama need to take their cues from them.
But beyond that, here's what the Congressional Democrats need to say to the Bush administration, including Henry Paulson: "You people and your approach got us into this mess, so now you'll take what we give you to fix it, and you'll like it. Or else, if you veto this, we're starting impeachment proceedings." Because, really, with the worst attack on American soil on their watch, a war we didn't need, gross violations of the Constitution and abuse of power, and now a meltdown of the financial sector, again on their watch, do we really need further evidence that Bush, Cheney and the whole crew headed up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is anything other than incompetent, dishonest, lazy and unconstitutional? If these aren't "high crimes and misdemeanors" then what, pray tell, is?
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