Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What the Fannie/Freddie takeover and the Iraq War Have In Common

Here's what:

No matter what they say, the Bush administration will always, always, ALWAYS use any authority Congress gives them.

Chris Dodd should have known better:
In the mortgage rescue bill, the Treasury Department was given authority to buy major stakes in the two mortgage giants — if it had to. But Paulson, until recently, predicted that the government would not need to get federal money involved in propping up Fannie and Freddie. Just the ability to do so, he suggested, would be enough to calm the market.

"We certainly accepted him at his word that this was going to be all that was necessary," Dodd said, adding that the administration has now "used that authority aggressively." Dodd said that he would be more wary of Paulson's words in the future. "Fool me once, your fault; fool me twice, my fault." [emphasis added]
Uh huh.

Now, I don't necessarily oppose the Fannie/Freddie thing. Unlike the Iraq war, something along these lines was probably necessary. But the Bush administration has this habit: they ask for a power "just in case." The war authority was supposed to bring Iraq to heel. The Fannie/Freddie legislation was supposed to do the same to the market.

I'm sure you can add your own items. How many kinds of authority has the Bush administration requested, and received, with the promise or hope that they wouldn't go down that road? Have they ever received an authority that they haven't maximized or more?

[crickets]

I thought so.


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