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An (animated) Plan to Rescue Taxpayers and Main Street U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsons initial proposal for the giant Wall Street bailout would have given him, as secretary of the Treasury, the personal authority to spend $700 billion of taxpayers money to buy troubled financial assets on any terms he saw fit. He would then be authorized to sell these assets, also without limitation. Under his proposal, his actions are explicitly exempted from review by any court or administrative body. Congress appears to be moving Paulson off these extreme terms, but any final deal should rest meaningful control, true decision-making authority, not in one person and certainly not with the secretary of the Treasury of an administration that, in large part, authored this crisis. Paulson along with the rest of the Bush economic policy apparatus—and in fact all of those who are ideologically resistant to a role for government in the economy—are deeply implicated in the mess were in. Whether we call it incompetence, gross negligence or ideology run amok, no action was taken as the economy, and the financial sector in particular, grew more and more dependent on a mass of untenable loans in over-valued assets. Since that bubble began to burst they have dragged their feet in taking the kind of comprehensive action thats been needed—resisting congressional attempts to fix the housing market and calls by the Center for American Progress, among others, to jump in to stop the bleeding before it ever reached this stage. More aggressive action has been needed for months to preserve the value of homes for the benefit of homeowners, to protect the value which underlies the mortgage-related assets in the hands of investors, and to prevent the loss of so much value in our overall economy.
Length: 01:51


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