Paulson Needs to Come Clean

So testifying before congress today, Hank Paulson repeatedly lied, saying he welcomes oversight of his proposed bailout, and merely didn’t include a bailout mechanism because he thought it would be inappropriate for him to propose the means by which he will be overseen.

This is transparently false. His proposal wasn’t silent on the issue of oversight, leaving a blank for congress to fill in. Rather, it included a provision that specifically precluded oversight from happening:

Section 8. Review: Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Bloggers do a lot of “gotcha” stuff of this sort, but it’s deadly serious. Paulson is asking congress to trust him that (a) a bailout is necessary, (b) he ought to be in charge of implementing it, and (c) that $700 billion is the correct figure. For him to open his explanation by lying to congress is absurd. He needs to come clean about this, admit he made a mistake, apologize, and start making a serious effort to explain why he thinks a bailout is necessary. To just take his work for it would be crazy.