(Seattle Times) -- As evidenced by two little-noticed sections of the Obama administration's Wall Street "reform" bill, presidents and their bank benefactors are back to thinking they can pilfer whatever they want — only now they have learned to camouflage their demands by burying them in the esoterica of lengthier bills. Finding this latest giveaway means digging all the way down to sections 1109 and 1604 of the White House's mammoth proposal. These passages look like typical legislative asterisks — perfunctory "oh, by the ways" inserted by some overeager law-school intern in the Treasury Department's basement as a matter of meaningless parliamentary etiquette. They are anything but.
At a recent hearing, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., called the language "TARP on steroids," noting the provisions would deliberately let the executive branch enact even bigger, more unregulated bailouts than ever — and by unilateral fiat. Whereas the original TARP included some oversight language and power to limit Wall Street bonuses, TARP on steroids includes no specific oversight or executive pay constraints. Whereas TARP permitted the government to underwrite both small and large banks, TARP on steroids allows taxpayer cash to go only to the behemoths (which, not coincidentally, tend to make the biggest campaign contributions). And whereas TARP limited the treasury secretary's check-writing authority to two years and $700 billion, TARP on steroids would let him spend as much as he wants for as long as he wants. This last point is what poker players call "the tell" — the inadvertent tip exposing a scam. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's tell came when he publicly said the Obama administration would oppose amendments limiting the new bailout power — even if the limit was a $1 trillion cap...Cont'd...LINK