Get Ready For The Streamroller

Robert Borosage

Get ready for the steamroller on the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street.

Tuesday was the time for throat clearing. It started to get out of hand. Opposition to the plan grew through Wednesday morning.

Then…

1. Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha and the biggest billionaire of them all, bought into Goldman Sachs, betting on the upside of the bailout. Today, Buffett is praising Paulson, “talking his book.”

2. The President announced he’d speak to the nation at 9 p.m. last night, undoubtedly to scare the devil out of us.

3. Sen. John McCain announced a “time out” from campaigning (when the going gets tough, the tough call time out) to come to Washington.

4. The campaign of Sen. Barack Obama announced that he and McCain had agreed to meet and work out a joint position on the bailout.

Look out folks, the fix may well be in. Here’s what it might look like:

  • President issues grave alarm: “Major sectors of America’s financial system are at risk of shutting down.”
  • Leaders of both parties of both Houses of Congress meet at the White House today and promise a bill by the weekend.
  • Obama and McCain issue a statement (previously checked with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke or Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson?) with conditions for the bailout.
  • Buffett’s move rallies investors and Wall Street lobbies organize a full-court press.
  • We get steamrolled.

The smartest sage on all of this, William Greider of The Nation, has the best possible fallback position. “We should make one simple demand: If taxpayer money is used, we want the same deal Buffett got.”

Buffett’s deal was preferred stock with 10 percent annual return and the right to convert to stock if the stock takes off after the bailout. Taxpayers should get the same deal.


This article was updated from an earlier post on The Huffington Post.

Get updates in your inbox

Comments