The Bailout Passes! Now What?

It is officially called H.R. 1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. It is also called the Wall Street Bailout Bill, the Rescue Bill, the largest Federal power grab in US history, the socialization of the US Financial sector, and, of course, the crap sandwich. As of a few moments ago, the legislation passed the House on a 263-171 vote. Wall Street rallied at the news while down on Main Street, folks are getting ready for a piece of that sandwich. The Core Proposals Have Not Changed, Just the Wrapping The heart of the bill, that lovely great $700 billion Wall Street Bailout, is still there. This, of course, means that one of the primary objections to the original bill is still very much in place. True, the Senate version makes the bailout more palatable—raising the FDIC insurance cap to $250,000 for example—but not in any way that really takes care of core objections. What the Senate did was to tie a number of other popular bills to the failed... [Read Full Article]

The 2008 $700 Billion Bailout: It Seems We Have Been Here Before

Think back to 1929. Amazing things happened in 1929: Martin Luther King Jr. was born. Popeye made his debut, Hoover was inaugurated as President, Al Capone was arrested on a concealed weapons charge and the stock market crashed. The Roaring Twenties, that glittering period of greed and excess that marked the second decade of the 20th century, came to an end on October 28th and 29th 1929, when the market not merely crashed, it embarked on a month-long slide into oblivion. The culprit, ultimately, was speculation. By August 1929, brokers were routinely lending small investors more than 2/3 of the face value of the stocks they were buying. Over $8.5 billion was out on loan, more than the entire amount of currency circulating in the U.S.The rising share prices encouraged more people to invest; people hoped the share prices would rise further. Speculation thus fueled further rises and created an economic bubble. A bubble burst eventually and this was no diff... [Read Full Article]