His nickname on the op-ed pages is King Henry. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is responding to some desperate financial times, with some pretty desperate measures.
He was on Capitol Hill trying to convince Congress to spend $700 billion to buy up bad debt. Not just mortgages, but virtually any kind of debt - from credit cards to car loans. I was tempted to throw my American Express card bill into the mix. Who would know?
Secretary Paulson's proposal would give him broad power to decide which assets to buy and how much to pay. There's even a provision in the plan calling some of his decisions non-reviewable.
Our nation has prospered for more than two centuries with a system of checks and balances. While some type of bailout plan may be necessary, Congress needs to be careful it doesn't fix this financial mess by giving the king the keys to the castle.