Sunday. Late September; a warm day. Football season. The players in the huddle were shouting back and forth; emotions were high and morale was low. Accusations were parried with recriminations. Discipline and order had broken down, been restored, and broken down again repeatedly. The play-caller had a mad look in his eye and desperation in a voice hoarse from shouting, cajoling, pleading. He seemed on the verge of collapse. At least once he had to wave off an offer of medical assistance. The others had begun to eye him warily. Occasionally they peered over their shoulders at the mob all around them. No single voice could be heard in the cacophonous din–yet it communicated perfectly the unmitigated outrage of the crowd. They were surrounded, and by no means assured of escape. Yet they feared more what lay upfield. At times one of them would furtively steal a glance in that direction. Their leader was stammering incoherently, alone and ignored on the sidelines in the midst of the mayhem, going through the motions with a mixture of resentment and relief, as if he was glad the mob’s hatred of him had exhausted itself. And somehow they emerged from their huddle with a play.
Now that everyone has their PDF drafts of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 in front of them we can get down and dirty with the devil in the details. The first thing that stands out is an opening in the definitions of qualified financial institutions, sec. 3(5), leaving room for foreign firms (emph. mine) to participate:
“…any institution, including, but not limited to, any bank, savings association, credit union, security broker or dealer, or insurance company, established and regulated under the laws of the United States … and having significant operations in the United States, but excluding any central bank of, or institution owned by, a foreign government.
Paulson’s bald-faced power grab from Sec. 8 of the original three-page draft, which read
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency
has been tossed. Sec. 119, “Judicial Review and Related Matters” does, however, allow for “expedited” consideration of any injunctions or restraining orders on Paulson’s activities and automatic temporary stays thereof–of course this might be par, I honestly don’t know.
There’s a provision for suspending now maligned mark-to-market accounting rules as well, but it isn’t clear as to how or if it will be used.
Notably absent (unless I missed it) is the rumored “slush fund” for community organizer outfits such as ACORN. Has anyone yet pointed out how Fannie and Freddie, in conjunction with this whole “affordable housing” political superstructure, has spent the last decade and a half achieving the precise opposite of their mandate, making houses not cheaper but more expensive?