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rant

So why reject the Wall Street bailout?

How many times in the past seven years has King George III told the American people "There's a disaster looming, and you have to give me broad new powers, without any oversight or accountability, so I can protect you from it. It's really urgent; there's no time to discuss, debate, or even read my proposal; just approve it. Trust me."? How many times have he and his appointees proven worthy of that trust? How many times have they used those broad new powers to help the Republican Party and its major donors, rather than the country or the world?

I heard a radio commentator the other day say "President Bush's natural tendency is to reassure people," and I almost drove off the road laughing. President Bush's natural tendency is to create terror, so people will give him what he wants. Just like a terrorist who hijacks an airplane. And why not? It's worked for the past seven years....

I'm willing to believe (not Dubya, but people of more intellectual stature like Bernanke and Paulson) that this time there really is a wolf, and something does need to be done. But I have a hard time believing that the right answer is to write this notoriously corrupt and irresponsible administration a blank check for $700 billion, three months before it leaves office. (It's hard to imagine, for example, that bailout money won't go preferentially to banks that have promised to hire high-ranking Treasury officials in January. And, as an NPR commentator pointed out last week, Treasury doesn't have enough finance staff to manage this whole project: they'll need to contract it out, and the only companies with the expertise to manage it properly are the ones getting bailed out. There is no way to run this bailout without massive graft and influence-peddling.)

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