Monday, 22 September 2008

That US bail-out

The US Treasury's bail-out proposal to Congress makes - believe it or not - for interesting, not to say eye-watering, reading.

Have a look at section 2 for example:

Sec. 2. Purchases of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Authority to Purchase.–The [Treasury] Secretary is authorized to purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, on such terms and conditions as determined by the Secretary, mortgage-related assets from any financial institution having its headquarters in the United States.

How much?

Sec. 6. Maximum Amount of Authorized Purchases.

The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time.

Lawks. So what exactly can he do?


....(b) Necessary Actions.–The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this Act, including, without limitation...

Crumbs. Ah, but presumably there's pretty effective oversight of the Treasury Secretary's use of his powers, right? Er, not as such:

Sec. 8. Review.

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.

Hmm. As Guido said drily in the context of the UK banning of short selling, first they came for the capitalists...


dNo said...

By Odin's mighty hammer... How the hell do you get a country so free that someone can write himself a law that gives himself $700 BILLION to spend any way he sees fit, and no one can ever challenge him over a single cent????
No wonder they think its worth fighting for

Jonny Mac said...

By Odin's mighty hammer indeed, dno. (Was Odin's mighty h the precursor to Maxwell's silver h?)