Tulsa World Editorial
Bush request needs oversight
by: World's Editorial Writers
9/23/2008 12:00 AM
There is almost unanimous agreement that the U.S. economy is at the brink and something needs to be done soon to prevent further mortgage collapses, bank failures and a full-blown depression. Such events would have economic effects far beyond the United States.
The pressing question is exactly what should be done and how quickly. President Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson last week presented to Congress a program that would fund a $700 billion bailout of the troubled financial market.
There is little doubt that the government must step in boldly to head off a complete collapse of the financial market.
The president and Paulson are asking for wide authority in this matter and are predicting that their plan will head off further economic problems. This, however, is coming from the same administration that during the last year has claimed that the economy was rebounding and any glitches on Wall Street were mere adjustments.
The Bush plan is drawing criticism from many quarters, from Bill Kristol to Paul Krugman and from Democrats and Republicans alike at the Capitol.
The biggest concern, and it is a legitimate one, is that the Bush plan lacks any significant oversight or transparency. Congress simply cannot hand over a blank check of taxpayer money without assurances of accountability.
Nor can the Democrats in Congress attempt to load up this bill with unrelated requests and demands. This calls for a truly bipartisan effort to do what is best for the American public and economy. But, although the president is insisting that Congress act quickly, it cannot hand over the keys to the public bank without due process.
This, of course, is all made more difficult by it being an election year. Surely, this is so obviously important that even the most partisan politician can put animosity aside for a moment.
Congress is expected to adjourn for the year at the end of the week. Still, it must not rush this measure through. If extra time is needed, then Congress should take that time.
This is the most dangerous and important time in the U.S. economy since the Great Depression. Congress must ask tough questions and ignore pressure from the White House.
Taxpayers cannot be expected to bail out a financial system that has put them in this mess with greed and no oversight.
There are plenty of people to blame. But that needs to be put aside and a workable and responsible plan must be agreed upon to bring the country back from the brink of economic failure.