My first reading, based on WaPo reporting.
A little bit of good news:
* Some sort of warrant mechanism to try to prevent a pure giveaway.
* Some sort of relief for homeowners who are under water on their mortgages.
That’s about it. Nothing even vaguely New-Dealish. On the downside:
* No real oversight. The overseers have a watching brief, not approval authority. The money is automatic, with the second slice on the Treasury Secretary’s mere say-so and the third slice subject only to a vetoable Congressional resolution of disapproval. Better than the original Paulson govern-by-decree nonsense, but pretty far short of checks and balances.
* No real limits on compensation. There are “limits,” sure, but they’re “enforced” through the tax code. Feh.
* No Wall Street tax. If the thing is losing money five years from now, the President must propose something-or-other for the Republicans in Congress to block. Don’t make me laugh.
And yes, the House Republicans’ “insurance” figleaf, which even the Wall Street Journal editors admit is a loser, is still in there. [Savor that: the WSJ announces that the single element for which John McCain was willing to torpedo the deal on Friday is a loser. And yet they still want this clown to be President. No accounting for taste.]
Worse, Newt Gingrich has decided to demagogue this one to the hilt. Gingrich seems to have been part of the problem from the beginning. Look for a post-deal double-cross by McCain and the wingnuts. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the double-cross actually happen on the House floor, with half the Republicans voting no and leaving the Democrats holding the bag.
That’s the problem with being the grown-up party.