Blank Check: Under the $700 billion bailout plan to save the financial markets and unfreeze credit strangulation, the Bush Administration is granting monarchical powers to one man. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in consultation with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will decide which companies bad debts will be bought and which not. They both testified Tuesday before a Senate banking committee and demanded Congressional approval by the end of the week. Enactment would restore confidence in a broken system caused by lax regulation and manipulative and corrupt accounting practices. At the moment, that's more important than the cloudy, broad details the administration so far has set forth. Bernanke said failure to act would lead to a recession and plunge more homeowners into foreclosures and unemployment. The plan is drawing bipartisan criticism. Democrats want greater regulatory reform, help to homeowners before they default on mortgage repayment and limits on executive buyout compensation. Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, said he opposed federal bailouts of corporations and individuals and there were no credible assurances the Paulson plan would work and end up costing taxpayers trillions of dollars. "Just because God created the world in seven days doesn't mean we have to pass this bill in seven days," said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas. Paulson has argued the plan be accepted now and tinker with its mechanics later.
Campaign Crossroads: Both Obama and McCain have pledged to support the bailout plan and offered their own proposals. Obama said restructuring how the government awards contracts could save $40 billion. McCain proposes a blue-ribbon oversight panel to monitor the Treasury Secretary's carte blanche decisions. Fact is, both presidential candidates are on the outside looking in with the winner of the election inheriting the fiscal mess that will alter their domestic spending agendas advocated on the campaign trails. The mood on Main Street is angry and righteous. The cost of the bailout in its current stage is about $2,500 per taxpayer. They have no say in the process other than taking out their vengeance on all the candidates on the Nov. 4 election ballot.
A Win Is a Win: After two opening season losses, my Chargers manhandled the New York Jets on Monday Night Football to bring their record to 1-2. Of course, the East Coast media focused the pre-game hype on future Hall of Famer Brett Favre still constrained learning his new team's offense. The game reminded them that the San Diego quarterback is a fast rising star in his own right quickly ascending to among the league's elite. Philip Rivers dominated the offense despite malingering toe injuries to two teammate stars in running back LaDamian Tomlinson and tight end Antonio Gates. The defense was more successful and aggressive than the first two games but still allows too many yards and points. In this game, the Charger special teams, usually stingy, was Swiss cheese. It's a long season with 13 games remaining and with all that talent and depth they still should make the playoffs. It's a weird year in that Buffalo, Denver, Baltimore and Tennessee remain undefeated in the American Conference while previous contenders Indianapolis and New England are crippled with injuries.