I have read the 110-page bailout plan (available from the NY Times), and have a few comments:
First, the Treasury Secretary can buy almost anything he deems to be a troubled asset. This is more than a little too broad for my comfort. In addition, the first "oversight" committee consists of the Treasury Secretary (huh?), the Fed. Chair, the Director of the Federal Home Finance Agency, the SEC Chairman, and the Secretary of HUD -- in other words, five people appointed by the President, including the guy who's in charge of the program.
Another problem -- the Treasury Secretary can waive parts of the "Federal Acquisition Regulation," specifically those parts that require minority participation and opportunities, very easily and with almost nobody allowed to complain about that.
We're just getting started; there's more.
Forget $700 billion -- it could cost $1 trillion. The additional $300 billion could come from the "HOPE for Homeowners Act," and used to bail out those who took out oversize mortgages (and tenants who would be affected by foreclosures). While I like the help for homeowners and tenants, be aware that it could cost an additional $300 billion.
Executive compensation -- the "limits" are pathetically weak, and practically unenforceable. I can figure out simple loopholes for every limit. This is outrageous and unacceptable.
There are three levels of spending. At first, the Treasury Secretary can spend up to $250 billion. He can spend an additional $100 billion if he gets the President to say that he needs to do it. The last $350 billion requires another letter from the President, and can be overridden by Congress.
A couple of other oversight systems: The Comptroller General and a new Inspector General can also dig through what's going on and must submit reports regularly. A new Congressional Oversight panel will also sniff around.
There's a provision for a study on whether "leveraging" caused any or all of the problems. It's ridiculously inadequate, because it doesn't look at other problems (such as deregulation).
There's a provision for judicial review of what the Treasury Secretary does, but it specifically bars any real relief for those who are hurt if he does something wrong. This is inadequate.
5 years down the road, if the government ended up spending more money than it got back, then Congress can pass a law requiring the "financial industry" to make up the difference. In other words, this is supposed to be designed to cost us nothing in the long run. We'll see how well that works.
In short, there are several problems that need to be fixed before this goes into effect. Unfortunately, I strongly doubt they will even be addressed, much less fixed. But feel free to call your Representative (find your Rep. at the House website in the upper left-hand corner), or Senators Clinton -- (212) 688-6262 or (202) 224-4451 -- or Schumer -- 212-486-4430 or 202-224-6542. Tell them not to pass this until it's fixed.