Q I'm just trying to reconcile two points here. On the one hand, you said
that there are a lot of members who rightly have questions and acknowledge that
this is obviously a huge package, but on the other hand, you've emphasized
several times that it's critical that it be done quickly this week and that it
be done clean. You know, for lawmakers who are -- I guess I'm asking, isn't
there something to be said for being careful beyond the urgency and the haste?
Is there a concern here that maybe the administration is being heavy-handed?
MR. FRATTO: No, well, look, I think I would reconcile it this way: This
is -- this was not a program that was conceived of or put together hastily.
There was an enormous amount of analysis and debate and discussion before we
came forward with this program. I think we have anticipated a lot of the
questions that members of Congress would naturally have about taking this step,
but we have had -- some of the policy staff have had months to think about what
a program like this would be like and how it would work. Others have had at
least weeks to think about it. Members of Congress have had days to think about
it. And it's very, very complex and takes time to think through all of the
implications of it and why some alternative ideas might not work as well as this
So I think that's really the issue here. We have thought through a lot
of the concerns that some members have in advance, and I think we can address
them on a member-to-member basis, on a committee-to-committee basis. I think
Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke will be able to help in that effort
today. I think when people see their extensive discussion of the details and the
implications and the consequences, I think more people will understand why this
is the appropriate way to address this problem.
Q Well, I guess that's exactly my point, real quickly, is that you're
saying the administration and its staff has had months to think about this and
lawmakers have only had days. I mean, doesn't Congress get its turn? Doesn't it
have its own right?
MR. FRATTO: And they are, and we're taking this time. I mean, I don't
-- I'll concede that it is a lot of information to take in in a relatively short
period of time, but I think they can -- I think it's enough time. At any rate,
there is an urgent need here to get it done and I think members recognize that
also -- the overwhelming number of members of Congress recognize that.
Balance of powers? What balance of powers? Checks and balances are for losers. Act now, limited offer!
And you know it'll work, because the right people want it to work. The obvious question, why should people have to pay for others' bad investments and get nothing in return, will probably be ignored in the end.
It's like the town banker borrowed all the money in his bank, lost it in investing in gold mines that didn't pan out, and then demanded the depositors pay him back. Because otherwise the bank in town will suffer, and where will all the townspeople's money be then?
It's gone. The money's gone. And the banker wants you to give him more money so he can continue to make loans so he can continue to invest in gold mines. But they'll be good loans, they'll make money in the end.
That's all they have to do; dangle a lump of gold and say, "Trust me." And it'll work.
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