Bailout Plan General Agreement Reached: Plan Being Written Now

The new plan puts caps on exective pay and golden parachutes, it also allows foreclosures to proceed (and this is a must – some people have walked away from their homes,) and it stops money from going to Acorn and other Democrat activist groups that led us to this crisis. So on the surface it looks good.

Over the next thirty years many of these mortgages will be paid off, producing potential profit, and those that aren’t are still backed by houses and property in the US, still one of the best countries in the world to live in. The bill will be posted for 24 hours before the vote, and you can bet that bloggers will be going over it with a fine tooth comb. I intend to read it, but won’t plan on commenting unless there is something egregiously wrong with it (beyond just the fact that we have to do this.)

Right now on paper these bundles of mortgages appear to have little value, but over time they will regain their worth. The similar period we saw in Japan took about ten years, if we build the energy sources we need and build our economy it could happen quicker than that here.
Much more on the deal at Washington Post:

  • The money would be dispersed in segments, with Paulson receiving $250 billion immediately, $100 billion upon White House certification of its necessity and the final $350 billion only after Congress has been given 15 days to object.
  • Firms participating in the bailout would be required to grant the government warrants to obtain nonvoting shares of stock, so taxpayers can benefit if the companies return to profitability.
  • Firms taking advantage of the bailout would be required to limit compensation for senior executives, with especially severe limits on “golden parachutes” at failing firms. The compensation limits will be enacted primarily, but not solely, through the tax code by reducing tax deductions for firms that pay executives more than $400,000 a year.

I like it that they are metering the money with checkpoints, I like it that there are these and other limits. What I don’t like is that there will be fees on the financial services industry as part of the agreement if they don’t turn this around in five years. Without seeing the details of how this all knits together, it’s really impossible to comment more on the plan. I await the posting of it.

Update: Also now note that President Clinton also pins this blowup directly on House and Senate Democrats.
Update: More at Big Lizards
UPDATE: The bill is posted, and it looks better than previously stated. The House Republicans have a fact page up on it. I got tied up at work today and have not yet had time to read it, but I will on the morrow. If anything pokes me in the eye I will be writing about it. Otherwise, for now I support this move.
Here’s Boehner thanking McCain for his assistance on the bill.

Tales of Brave Ulysses: Solar Winds Ebb to Fifty Year Low

The solar winds are now the lowest they’ve been in fifty years, meaning that the Sun’s effects on our solar system are also at an ebb. The Ulysses solar probe is providing these measurements, and the winds have not only lessened, but are also 13% cooler. Much more at BBC.

“This is a whole Sun phenomenon,” said Dave McComas, Ulysses solar wind instrument principal investigator, from Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, US.

“The entire Sun is blowing significantly less hard – about 20-25% less hard – than it was during the last solar minimum 10-15 years ago.

“That’s a very significant change. In fact, the solar wind we’re seeing now is blowing the least hard we’ve see it for a prolonged time, since the start of those observations in the 1960s at the start of the space age.”

In addition to being calmer, the wind measured at Ulysses is 13% cooler.

However, judging from Sun activity data collected by non-satellite methods over the past 200 years, the current behaviour is thought to be well within the long-term norm.

Nonetheless, scientists expect the weakened wind to have a wide range of impacts.

Among the notable effects of this will be cooling of our upper atmosphere, and increased penetration through the solar system of external cosmic rays.

The 2004 Hearings on Fannie and Freddy

In these hearings you see congressional Republicans calling for better oversight and regulation of the two GSE’s, and you see Democrats beating back any regulation.