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Sneaky, Sneaky Bailout

Remember how that bailout plan was supposed to shore up a banking system on the verge of collapse? Remember how it was absolutely necessary to pass it in Congress for the sake of the economy?

Well, unsurprisingly, lawmakers used the opportunity to ram through some other legislation. One such law that has absolutely nothing to do with rescuing the financial system is a set of new rules mandating that employers have to provide parity in coverage for treatment of physical and mental illnesses.

Interestingly, the Times article spends most of its article talking about the wonderful, bi-partisan consensus-building that went into passing the law, but spends virtually no ink explaining why this bill didn’t face a vote on its own merits. Instead, it was rather surreptitiously inserted into a bailout plan that the country was assured was absolutely necessary for the health of the economy.

Not that we should be surprised.

ACORN, a “community organizing group” with a history of election fraud problems was another one of the original beneficiaries of the bailout, and one of the major reasons that Congressional Republicans opposed the bailout the first time around. To my knowledge they were removed from the final draft.

In any case, the whole thing looks more and more like a boondoggle for taxpayers and a convenient way for members of Congress to pass legislation that would otherwise probably face more scrutiny.

E. Neil Trautwein, vice president of the “National Retail Federation”, was quoted as saying, “We built the [mental health insurance] bill piece by piece from the ground up. It’s a good harbinger for future efforts on health care reform.”

It’s a harbinger, alright. I’m not sure if it’s a good one.

  1. Chris says:

    It’s disgusting no matter how you look at it….and even if there were programs that benefited, it only highlights how fucked up the system is. Worse, it feeds into the arguments of the ultra-delusional left (and right).

    Face it, Congress and politicians in general think that the critical mass of voting Americans are dumber than a box of rocks.

  2. Vincent says:


    It’s not the idea of ensuring equal coverage for mental and physical illness that bugs me. It’s the way the bill was passed — as an unheralded attachment to “crisis” legislation that was presented as the only way to save the economy.

    It’s as if some nasty anti-gay marriage law (for instance) was snuck into the already odious USA PATRIOT Act. People would be outraged, and rightly so.

    I understand, of course, that this sort of chicanery is pretty much par-for-the-course in Washington. It’s pure opportunism, and it doesn’t sit well with me.

  3. Neil Trautwein says:

    It (mental health parity) was already much scrutinized. I’ve worked on the issue for some 15 years myself. In the current Congress, it had passed each House in different form and had come to a consensus compromise version which each House then passed again. It was caught up in a House – Senate wrangle over how various bills would be paid for … until it caught a ride on the economic rescue package.

    I understand your point – and even agree with it to some degree — but parity was poor example to use. I will grant you that my quote was perfect grist for your blog though. But, please believe me that better coverage for mental health and substance abuse conditions is a good thing — for employees, employers and our general productivity.

  4. Timothy says:

    Conversation with my father (who is a finance professional, not just some schlub):

    “Dad, they just gave Paulson almost a trillion dollars. Paulson is a jackass.”
    “Yes, but he’s a smart jackass.”
    “Smart jackasses are more dangerous, dad, the dumb ones don’t know enough to hurt you.”
    “You have a point.”

  5. CJ Ciaramella says:

    On the plus side, it’s a great time to invest in survival stocks! The demand for canned food and firearms is rising by the minute!

    (I’m not joking. Campbell Soup Company is one of the only stocks not taking a nosedive. God help us all.)

  6. Chris says:

    I thought it was sad when they denied the 700 Billion for its being out-of-control (etc) and because their feelings were hurt by Pelosi…not that they were alone (they being House R’s)….but the magical wand of Congress (+140 Billion dollars if you roll three 20’s in a row) came into play again and….voila!

    We should hold a Shame-In for the people who voted for it. Maybe a “Smoke em if you got em Shame-In” ?

    I don’t know…it just pisses me off. And now Paulson has put a lowly VP at Goldman-Sachs (where he came from) in charge of spending the trillion bucks…and I have no idea why this person is qualified to do so.

    My head hurts.

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