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Paulson now more powerful than the President

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Henry Paulson is now arguably the most powerful man in the world – or will be if Congress passes his and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s new bill. If you read through the text of the planned $700bn bailout of the US financial system (which will take all the banks’ bad debts off their hands in exchange for nice, clean, taxpayers’ money), one item stands out:

“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”

Since it also states earlier in the bill that “The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this Act, including, without limitation […]”, he can do pretty much whatever he likes with no fear of comeback.

The US Treasury Secretary, complicit by negligence in bringing the US to its knees, now has a blank cheque and immunity from prosecution.

What could possibly go wrong?

  1. Very scary indeed – why do I get the feeling that 5 to 10 years down the line we might all be regretting this decision?

  2. 5 years? Judging by the online chatter, I think a lot of people are regretting the decision right now.

    What’s scary is that the majority of people (Americans and around the world) have little to no idea just how serious these events are – because it’s just economics, and economics is too boring to bother trying to understand.

  3. I saw part of a TV interview with Paulson today. His answers were mostly scripted platitudes (”I don’t like putting the taxpayer on the line like this, but the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about” sort of thing). But his face looked like he’d been staring into the abyss. I’m beginning to wonder if even he really wants this power.