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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

April 1, 2008


Closing the Barn Door

"The overhaul of our financial and regulatory system is inevitable. This is going to take time a lot of time but we have a responsibility to begin this discussion now."
-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson

In another move to set one's hair to hurting, President Bush's Treasury Secretary announced a plan to better monitor the financial institutions who have us regular Americans in a strangle-hold. And even after all of this time of finding ways to swindle us of as much of our hard-earned cash as possible, today - now - is the time we're going to reign in these monsters.

Maybe one or two of them will have to take their names off of a ballpark or two.

Paulson stood up and announced the 218-page plan as some sort of magic wand to fix all of that which the Bushies have helped destroy.

And only seven and a half years after they took office, too.

Here are some of the highlights, as pointed out by CNN.com and Madman's responses to them:

CNN.com: Replace a welter of federal agencies with three main regulators charged with ensuring stable markets, safeguarding federally guaranteed institutions such as banks and protecting consumers.
MADMAN: Instead of taking responsibility and attempting to fix anything, the Bushies are going to create three new agencies. and although they say that their plan will eliminate other agencies, we all know that the "small government" bush administration has done nothing but create more bureaucracy and government expenditures. There is no oversight of our financial systems except when the need comes to make sure that these institutions are bailed out by the American people. And that appears to be exactly what the Bushies have in mind.

CNN.com: Introduce federal regulation of the insurance industry with the creation of an optional federal charter to supplement the state-level system that's been in place for 135 years.
MADMAN: As of now, the insurance industry is regulated by the individual states. Is anyone out there happy that the Bush administration is taking that oversight over? I know I'm not. This has been the most friendly-to-insurance administration in recent memory and all one has to do is look at how the Bushies have helped supplement the insurers after hurricanes in Florida, even though those same giants made billions in profits insuring against that very same event. Even today, one has to wonder why the insurance industry hasn't performed a fraction of their responsibility in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans.
No real need to wonder - they don't have to.
And I wonder if the new insurance regulators, after taking over for state regulators, will be harder on other insurance companies, in particular the health care industry.
I think not.

CNN.com: Create a Mortgage Origination Commission to pass judgment on state oversight of the mortgage industry.
FARMER GEORGE: Close the barn doors Martha.
FARMER PAULSON: But Farmer George, the horses have already gone.
FARMER GEORGE: That's okay, honey. We don't want 'em gettin' back in.

CNN.com: Merge agencies that oversee securities and futures trading the biggest change for the Securities and Exchange Commission since its creation in 1934.
MADMAN: I guess "change" is now the word of the day. But if we judge by the kind of "change" the Bushies have instituted so far (such as the bankruptcy bill which penalizes families who can't pay their doctors' bills but allows large corporations to go belly-up without so much as an "I'm sorry"), one has to ask oneself what kind of "change" we're going to get.
I'd bet it won't be a "change" for the better.

Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut put it best. Obviously referring to Bush's booing at the hands of a Washington Nationals Baseball crowd, Dodd said this:

"I would call this the wild pitch. It's not even close to the strike zone. Clearly, this has nothing to do with the current problems we're facing."

And Dodd is right. There is no fix and I would hope that our new administration would apply a real fix so the problems we have today don't repeat in the future.

But there are other Bushies out here, unfortunately.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to, "*Dexter* is one of the five best shows on the tube, so it was a smart move. *CSI* is still quirky and fun, and April 3rd marks the return of that top-rated show on TV, but CBS was incredibly smart to pick up *Dexter,* a showcase for the *CSI/Criminal Minds* coterie that CBS has wooed for years," Blondi writes:

Up until now, I've enjoyed your views, but this one caught me unawares. I seriously think something is wrong with any viewer who finds a show about a serial killer great TV. It matters not if he's taking out the bad guys. He's enjoying it way too much, and that's just not acceptable.

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-Noah Greenberg