After Legislating

Having gotten its $700 billion worth of authority to buy “troubled” assets, the Treasury Department now needs to figure out what to actually do. One oddity of the debate over the rescue package is that, by necessity, to make a program of this sort work you need to have over a fair amount of discretionary authority to the implementers. But that means there’s an enormous range of things they might actually do and nobody really knows today — or knew earlier this week as we debated the program — what would actually happen if it passed.

Meanwhile, Hank Paulson and the Treasury Department certainly haven’t been the least impressive part of the Bush administration, but his performance has hardly been awe-inspiring.