Just to review:
- On a Monday, a bill, H.R. 3997, went before the House of Representatives and 228-205. It was viewed that this wasn't the right legislation and there hadn't been enough thought put into it.
- The Senate picked up the another version of the bill, H.R. 1424, on Wednesday, added some "sweeteners" and it passed 74-25.
- The house then voted on the "sweetened" bill on Friday, and it passed 263-171.
What does this mean? I'm not an expert, but this doesn't seem like the way the process is supposed to work, but unfortunately it is how it does work.
First, lets look at the details of each version of the bill.
H.R. 3997 was originally a bill to give tax relief to members of the armed services. It was picked up by the house in order to turn it into a financial relief bill. This would have provided $700 billion to bailout the financial sector.
H.R. 1424 was a bill to deal with mental health services and eliminate discrimination by health insurance companies. The provisions added to H.R.3997 were added to this bill along with a number of other provisions. This included a number of tax credit provisions, a patch to the Alternative Minimum Tax and other unrelated items.
The only real similarity between the bills was the $700 billon. Otherwise they were very different bills. If the bailout measure wasn't good in the first version of the bill, why was it acceptable once you added a bunch of other pork for specific constituencies? This is politics, pure and simple. Why did these representatives change their votes? Was it because of fear of not doing something? This seems to me like a plan that was put in place because they didn't want to be viewed as sitting around not fixing it. Instead of debating it, they did something.
Call me altruistic, but I expect our legislators would be able to come up with a better plan for the country and the economy than this. This was extremely unpopular with the voters, financiers and economists, yet they still passed the bill. My personal opinion is that there should have been more thought put into this. I also think that the press was irresponsible and feeding into the public's fear, which forced the legislature to act in a careless manner.
Who is going to manage the new portfolio of stocks that the Government is going to end up owning? Its probably the same idiots that got us all into this in the first place? How is America going to get its value back out of the market that we've just bailed out?
We won't even get into the question of whether it is right to bailout a corporation that has been mismanaged when the same isn't done for every individual that does the same?