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Column: Bailout Bill Only Serves To Expand Power Of Congress

This story was written by Trevor White, Daily Toreador

With all of the pork, Washington looks like a pig sty.

Last week Congress passed the 442 page, $850 billion Wall Street bailout bill. Except now proponents of the measure have decided that a friendlier term is "rescue bill," as if simply changing the name will inspire more people to support the mass socialization of our financial system.

The bill -- originally a three-page outline submitted to congress by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson -- quickly ballooned into the massive ambiguous document put into law. Since there is so much controversy surrounding this bill, I knew I had to write about it. So in the search of a well-studied opinion I did what I sincerely doubt many lawmakers have even done, I read the bill.

The first thing I noticed after reading the first two pages was how many times the Treasury Secretary was mentioned and how much power this bill allocated him. His name occurs 322 times, and in section 101, subsection C, item number 3; the Treasury Secretary is given the explicit power to designate any financial institution as an agent of the federal government and require them to carry out their duties as the federal government requires.

Does anyone else think that giving one person the power to seize and dictate a bank's action however he sees fit is a bad idea? Do you realize that Congress just gave one person totalitarian control over potentially all the financial institutions in the country with limited oversight?

Are we simply supposed to hope that he doesn't abuse this power? I think we have enough bad examples of how people will abuse the power given to them if they get the chance to know this is a bad idea.

Secretary Paulson may be a good guy; he may take the authority given to him and use it responsibly to resolve this crisis, but what about the next guy? The secretary is appointed by the president, and we are about to elect a new one. What if the person the new president appoints isn't as trustworthy as he or she should be? I think that allowing one person to have massive amounts of power with minimal consequences for abuse is a set up for disaster.

Also contained within the bill are numerous earmarks that have very little to do with establishing financial stability. There is a $2 million tax credit for toy wooden arrows hidden in the 26-page energy section of the bill, as well as a tax exemption for rum from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

I may just be missing the purpose of this bill but I thought it was to stabilize our financial markets, not provide congressmen a blank check to win re-election. How will easing the tax burden on toy wooden arrows help resolve any problems on Wall Street?

The bill also funnels money into leftist groups like the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN. The bill imposes a tax on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, of which the revenues go to various groups including ACORN, which has been involved in numerous voter fraud scandals over the years.

Coining this bill as a "rescue plan" is an insult to the American people's intelligence. A rescue is what happens when the Coast Guard saves a person from drowning in a hurricane. This bill should be called "Congress's attempt to expand its power and spend money on wasteful projects under the guise of aiding the country."

This bill halfheartedly treats the symptoms of a greater underlying problem in our financial systems without truly addressing the cause. It brings more private firms under the direction of the federal government and will explode the national debt.

Our generation will be the one that has to deal with the ramifications of these actions, and the untangling of this massive web of government verreaching will take a lot of work that will most likely never happen.