Paulson’s Pinata: Wall Street waits for the candy to drop

Piñata: a decorated vessel (as of papier-mâché) filled with candies, fruits, and gifts and hung up to be broken with sticks by blindfolded persons. When it breaks and the goodies fall out, everyone scrambles to scoop up as much as they can.

Bob Herbert calls for a second opinion before we turn the keys to the kingdom back over to the thieves who stole the gold in the first place.

The sky was falling, [Paulson] seemed to be saying, and if the taxpayers didn’t pony up $700 billion in the next few days, all would be lost. No time to look at the fine print. Hurry, hurry, said the treasury secretary. His eyes, as he hopped from one network camera to another, said, as salesmen have been saying since the dawn of time: “Trust me.”

With all due respect to Mr. Paulson, who is widely regarded as a smart and fine man, we need to slow this process down. We got into this mess by handing out mortgages like lollipops to people who paid too little attention to the fine print, who in many cases didn’t understand it or didn’t care about it.

-snip –

I agree with the economist Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, that while the government needs to move with dispatch, there is also a need to make sure that taxpayers’ money is used only where “absolutely necessary.”

Lobbyists, bankers and Wall Street types are already hopping up and down like over-excited children, ready to burst into the government’s $700 billion piñata. This widespread eagerness is itself an indication that there is something too sweet about the Paulson plan.

Yup. “Fool me once, fool me….”

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