Friday, December 12, 2008

The imperial bailout

Well, I guess last night's Senate vote on the auto industry bailout was just for form's sake. Senators last night rejected (on a procedural vote) bipartisan schemes to subsidize some of the more uncompetitive manufacturers in the country and their ossified union allies. But when legislators vote the "wrong way," there's always an imperial president to don purple robes and pick up the slack through the powers of his executive branch minions.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the administration would consider tapping the $700 billion government pool -- known as the Troubled Asset Relief Plan, or TARP -- that was created ahead of the November election to calm turmoil in financial markets.

"Under normal economic conditions, we would prefer that markets determine the ultimate fate of private firms," Mr. Perino said. "However, given the current weakened state of the U.S. economy, we will consider other options if necessary -- including use of the TARP program to prevent a collapse of troubled auto makers." Ms. Perino added, "A precipitous collapse of this industry would have a severe impact on our economy, and it would be irresponsible to further weaken and destabilize our economy at this time."

Separately, Treasury spokeswoman Brookly McLaughlin said, "Because Congress failed to act, we will stand ready to prevent an imminent failure until Congress reconvenes and acts to address the long-term viability of the industry."

So the Bush administration will go ahead and do on its own what Congress declined to authorize until such time as lawmakers change their minds and votes?

Ummm ... Why bother to convene Congress anymore?

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Blogger steveegg said...

Because Bush can only spend a few billion instead of the few dozen billion he and the far side of the bipartisan Party-In-Government want to spend, and because he can't unilaterally nationalize the Not-So-Big Three?

December 12, 2008 6:39 PM  
Blogger J.D. Tuccille said...

I'm tempted to say, "what's a few billion among friends?" But you're right that there are still some limits on executive power in the absence of congressional authorization.

But not much in the way of limits that would be recognizable to the folks who originally crafted that office ...

December 12, 2008 7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"and it would be irresponsible to further weaken and destabilize our economy at this time." we'll just fire up the presses and print up another 20 billion or so worthless green and white pieces of paper, as a childhood friend said before he jumped off the roof with his homemade parachute, "what could possibly go wrong?"

December 15, 2008 10:15 AM  

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