Thursday, October 2, 2008

If You Can't Win 'em, Buy 'em

I decided to take a look at the Bill that has been voted down and basically the same bill that will be re-submitted with a dose of arm twisting, saccharin, and plain out old fashion “if you can’t win em, buy em” thrown in for good measure. The entire Bill is a farce and it seems that there are still a few Democrats and Republicans who will “just say no” to nonsense. Unfortunately McCain failed the test on this one but he’s trying to get elected as is Obama. The other Congressional folks up for re-election for the most part have sold out as well.

I picked out some of the highlights of the bill since it is rather long and it’s a wonder anyone bothered to read it since it says one thing in one paragraph and then amends it a couple of paragraphs down. If you don’t mean what you say, don’t say it, but then we have to remember this Bill is written by lawyers, turned politicians and know how to twist the words to where no one understand them including themselves. How do you think so much of the bologna that passes for laws gets passed? Anyhow take a look and then I think you will understand why a few good men and women voted NO and hopefully will continue to vote no until a real reform bill is passed.

PROGRAM GUIDELINES.—Before the earlier of the end of the 2-business-day period beginning on the date of the first purchase of troubled assets pursuant to the authority under this section or the end of the 45-day period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall publish program guidelines, including the following:
(1) Mechanisms for purchasing troubled assets.
(2) Methods for pricing and valuing troubled assets.
(3) Procedures for selecting asset managers.
(4) Criteria for identifying troubled assets for purchase.

(e) PREVENTING UNJUST ENRICHMENT.—In making purchases under the authority of this Act, the Secretary shall take such steps as may be necessary to prevent unjust enrichment of financial institutions participating in a program established under this section, including by preventing the sale of a troubled asset to the Secretary at a higher price than what the seller paid to purchase the asset. This subsection does not apply to troubled assets acquired in a merger or acquisition, or a purchase of assets from a financial institution in conservatorship or receivership, or that has initiated bankruptcy proceedings under title 11, United States Code.
(6) providing financial assistance to financial institutions, including those serving low- and moderate-income populations and other under served communities, and that have assets less than $1,000,000,000, that were well or adequately capitalized as of June 30, 2008, and that as a result of the devaluation of the preferred government-sponsored enterprises stock will drop one or more capital levels, in a manner sufficient to restore the financial institutions to at least an adequately capitalized level; This smells like ACORN

(a) EXERCISE OF RIGHTS.—The Secretary may, at any time, exercise any rights received in connection with troubled assets purchased under this Act.

(b) MANAGEMENT OF TROUBLED ASSETS.—The Secretary shall have authority to manage troubled assets purchased under this Act, including revenues and portfolio risks therefrom.

(c) SALE OF TROUBLED ASSETS.—The Secretary may, at any time, upon terms and conditions and at a price determined by the Secretary, sell, or enter into securities loans, repurchase transactions, or other financial transactions in regard to, any troubled asset purchased under this Act. NO WHERE DOES IT SAY AT WHAT PRICE, BELOW WHAT WAS PAID OR AT WHAT WAS PAID OR ABOVE WHAT WAS PAID. NO REAL CONTROL

(d) TRANSFER TO TREASURY.—Revenues of, and proceeds from the sale of troubled assets purchased under this Act, or from the sale, exercise, or surrender of warrants or senior debt instruments acquired under section 113 shall be paid into the general fund of the Treasury for reduction of the public debt.

(e) APPLICATION OF SUNSET TO TROUBLED ASSETS.—The authority of the Secretary to hold any troubled asset purchased under this Act before the termination date in section 120, or to purchase or fund the purchase of a troubled asset under a commitment entered into before the termination date in section 120, is not subject to the provisions of section 120. NO SET PRICE HERE EITHER.

(a) STREAMLINED PROCESS.—For purposes of this Act, the Secretary may waive specific provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation upon a determination that urgent and compelling circumstances make compliance with such provisions contrary to the public interest.

(b) ADDITIONAL CONTRACTING REQUIREMENTS.—In any solicitation or contract where the Secretary has, pursuant to subsection (a), waived any provision of the Federal Acquisition Regulation pertaining to minority contracting, the Secretary shall develop and implement standards and procedures to ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, the inclusion and utilization of minorities (as such term is defined in section 1204(c) of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (12 U.S.C. 1811 note)) and women, and minority-and women-owned businesses (as such terms are defined in section 21A(r)(4) of the Federal Home Loan Bank Act (12 U.S.C. 1441a(r)(4)), in that solicitation or contract, including contracts to asset managers, servicers, property managers, and other service providers or expert consultants. FOR SURE THIS IS ACORN, A GROUP THAT HELPED TO GET US TO WHERE WE ARE TODAY.

2) PAY.—Each member of the Oversight Panel shall each be paid at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay for level I of the Executive Schedule for each day (including travel time) during which such member is engaged in the actual performance of duties vested in the Commission.

(3) PROHIBITION OF COMPENSATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES.—Members of the Oversight Panel who are full-time officers or employees of the United States or Members of Congress may not receive additional pay, allowances, or benefits by reason of their service on the Oversight Panel.

(4) TRAVEL EXPENSES.—Each member shall receive travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance with applicable provisions under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code.

(5) QUORUM.—Four members of the Oversight Panel shall constitute a quorum but a lesser number may hold hearings.

(6) VACANCIES.—A vacancy on the Oversight Panel shall be filled in the manner in which the original appointment was made.

(7) MEETINGS.—The Oversight Panel shall meet at the call of the Chairperson or a majority of its members.

(d) STAFF.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—The Oversight Panel may appoint and fix the pay of any personnel as the Commission considers appropriate.

(2) EXPERTS AND CONSULTANTS.—The Oversight Panel may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code.

(3) STAFF OF AGENCIES.—Upon request of the Oversight Panel, the head of any Federal department or agency may detail, on a reimbursable basis, any of the personnel of that department or agency to the Oversight Panel to assist it in carrying out its duties under this Act.


Among the sweeteners added are those that would:
—Provide business tax breaks, including for production of, investment in, and use of renewable fuels.
—Require group health plans that include mental health or addiction treatment to provide coverage for those conditions that is equitable to other medical coverage.
—Increase personal credits against the AMT, shielding more than 20 million taxpayers from the tax.
—Grant tax relief to victims of natural disasters in the Midwest and elsewhere.
—Extend through 2011 a program that funds rural schools and local governments that have low property-tax bases because they lie within or are adjacent to federal lands.
—Extend until end of 2009 the deduction for state and local general sales taxes.
—Extend until end of 2009 individual tax breaks, including deductions for higher education costs and teachers' personal expenses.

—Increase, from $100,000 to $250,000, the limit on federal bank deposit insurance. The only change and the only sweetener that has anything whatsoever to do with the purpose of the Bill.

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