Yesterday, six weeks before the general election, the lame-duck Bush XLIII Administration dispatched its lame-duck Vice President to Capitol Hill in order to persuade Congressional Republicans why they should rush to pass the lame-duck Treasury Secretary's lame plan to plunder the taxpayers in order to reward irresponsible banks and borrowers.
It wasn't a pretty sight. Atlas hasn't shrugged yet, but Republicans' shoulders are squaring against the Administration's efforts to cattle-prod them into a hasty stampede into the swamp of socialism. A "bloodbath" and an "unmitigated disaster" were two of the terms House Republicans invoked to describe the meeting.
Jeb Hensarling, of Texas, chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative Representatives that earlier this week issued a list of "Ten Conservative Concerns with the Treasury Bailout", later issued a statement that said in part:
House Conservatives are extremely concerned about the state of our economy, the status of our capital markets, and how the problems of Wall Street are being assumed by Main Street. It defies common-sense to pass a potential trillion dollar bailout bill without having a rational and deliberate conversation about other potential alternatives and remedies. I remain skeptical of the Paulson plan and am utterly unconvinced that this is the only alternative.
We have concerns about the ultimate cost to the taxpayer. We are concerned that the federal government is becoming the lender and guarantor of last resort. We are concerned that the plan will put the taxpayer on the hook for a trillion dollars and still might not solve the problem. We are concerned that the plan could fundamentally change the role of government in the American free enterprise system. ...
Mr. Hensarling's group is promoting a more market-based approach that actually reduces, rather than increases, the government meddlesomeness that fosters financial crises like this. The plan includes a moratorium on the capital gains tax and removing the monopoly power of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, "troubled financial Frankensteins – created in a government laboratory".