BBC – Shares surge on US bail-out plan

The London stock market ended a week of turmoil with its biggest one-day gain after the US government unveiled a plan to bail out the financial system.

With a video of Bush’s speech. Poooor BBC. Anyway, meanwhile, at the Volokh Conspiracy:

One interesting aspect of the recent government bailouts has been the complete irrelevance of Congress. The operation and decision-making seems to be run almost entirely by the Secretary of Treasury and Federal Reserve. Congress appears to lack the ability, the will, and the decisiveness to play any role except spectator, as a handful of senior executive branch officials have nationalized major portions of Wall Street.

What is further interesting is that Congress is not missed in the slightest. No one is clamoring for a greater role for our elected representatives in dealing with these problems. I haven’t heard anyone saying, “We really need to get Congress more involved in this. They’ll know what to do.”

The other day, I offered my view that Congress today is fundamentally a silly place stocked with silly people. …

Put more generally, Congress’s ridiculousness has increasingly caused it to forfeit its status a co-equal branch of government. 40 or 50 years ago it might have been plausible to imagine Congress addressing important public policy issues like entitlement reform or health care reform (I’m not saying they would have done it, but it seems like it was more plausible then). Serious people were in the Senate then–Taft, Johnson, etc. Today, however, the idea that serious solutions to pressing social problems might originate in Congress is hard to suggest with a straight face.

In the abstract, I am no fan of the administrative state and see the theoretical value of political accountability. But if I have to choose who I’d trust to deal with the big decisions, it is hard to make the case that Congress as it actually exists is who we want in charge. Over the past few years, the Executive and Courts have increasingly filled the gap that they perceive as existing because of Congress’s incompetence. One would like to say that if the Executive or Judiciary won’t step in Congress will step up. But that doesn’t seem like a realistic scenario to me. It is a vicious cycle and it is hard to see how that cycle can be broken.


So I’ve got this Bush speech running in the background. And maybe I wouldn’t have noticed this if I was watching as well but since it’s just an audio thing that I’m only half paying attention to I really really can’t help but noticing that he sounds really, really, really BORED.