Treasury Starts To Run Out Of Bailout Money

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When the Congress approved the bailout fund requested by Mr. Paulson, it earmarked $700 billion for the program, but the first installment was half of that. Only $60 billion of the initial piece is left.

Paulson is going to have to make a pitch to get the next slug of cash and he may find that he faces a hard sell.

According to The Wall Street Journal, "The Treasury secretary is likely to face a hostile reception from lawmakers angry over Treasury’s reluctance to aid the auto industry as well as its decision not to force banks receiving government assistance to lend out those funds to consumers and small businesses."

That would be bad news for everyone. Congress will only be around for a few weeks, if it is around even that long. The legislators who lost their seats may only come to clean out their offices before heading home. Even those who made it through the gauntlet could elect to get to the bosoms of their families and mistresses for Thanksgiving and the December holidays.

All of that means that Paulson may have neither the desire nor capacity to get into a rumble with the legislative wing. He has a holiday of his own. The private plane is waiting to take him to warmer weather, a round of golf, and a beach kissed by sun.

What becomes of the rest of the $700 billion?  It gets punted to the new Congress and the new Treasury Secretary. In the meantime, nothing happens and no one gets helped.

Douglas A. McIntyre