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September 26, 2008


What can the minority House Republicans do to stop any deal?

Or are the Dems just afraid to pass the bailout without cover from the Republicans?

Hilzoy, as you correctly stated, these are GOP lawmakers, not the same party as the Republican administration. The House minority caucus is running away from their party and responsibility for its actions.

The cost of the proposed bailout is staggering and the potential for such authority to be abused is frightening, but if there is a risk of getting stuck in a long economic depression, trying to get our banking system to function again needs to be pursued -- with caution. Throwing away the week's negotiations does not seem like effective caution to me.

Alphie, that fear is legitimate, but in addition some of the Blue Dog Democrats in the House might side with the Republicans (as they often do).

How is this different than any sort of sociopathic thuggery we might encounter on mean streets?

The callousness of this threatened havoc is almost inconceivable. To think this is the mindset of people we call national leaders is unthinkable.

Oh, hilzoy, it's not just a willingness to see their country go up in smoke. We're about to have full-bore global contagion, which is going to compound the difficulty in bringing things under control to an unimaginable degree. We've never tried to manage a set of financial problems of this magnitude.

Yves Smith at naked capitalist on the Asian markets this AM after the Congressional train wreck:
Oh, we are in for a wild ride today. Oddly, the reaction in Pacific rim stock markets seems comparatively subdued (the Nikkei is down only 134 points, but the Hang Seng has fallen over 2%), but the credit markets are stumbling badly. Central banks are rushing to the rescue, but their efforts aren't having much effect.

Don't watch the Dow, it's the bond and money markets to keep an eye on, and what's happening in Asia isn't a good sign. From Reuters:
Central banks across Asia scrambled on Friday to meet a desperate demand for cash, both in their own currencies and the U.S. dollar, as the White House's $700 billion bailout plan ran into unexpected roadblocks.

News of the biggest ever U.S. bank failure only added to the thirst for liquidity, with the government brokering a last-ditch purchase of thrift Washington Mutual (WM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) by JPMorgan (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

"The market is just frozen at the moment," said Claudio Piron, a strategist at JPMorgan Chase Bank in Singapore.

"We are at such a point of absent liquidity that prices are beginning to fail in their usefulness as a signal - this in itself is disturbing," Piron said.

McCain's "greatest crisis since..." and "must be solved by the weekend" is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

My concern about Paulson's so-called "plan" which wasn't a plan was that it was inadequate, a temporizing measure that substituted wishful thinking for what will ultimately be required to clean up and recapitalize the financial system. The problem is that right now there's no way to know the ultimate scope of the probem, other than that the longer we delay, the bigger it's ultimately going to be.

However, Dodd and the Senate Banking Committee, with Barney on board finally, had addressed the biggest weaknesses of Paulson's "concept paper". They would have given enough options for Treasury to continue to proceed with ad hocery and liquidity provision while creating enough time and a big enough war chest to get a handle on the scope of the recapitalization challenge.

The House Republicans and the Club for Growth cheerleaders are economic and financial ignoramuses and ideological fools. Less regulation (read, less transparency when lack of transparency is fueling the uncertainty at the heart of the downward spiral) and tax cuts that would be entirely irrelevant. Yep and private capital is just waiting in the wings. That must be the wings where everyone and his brother is fleeing to T-bills and hoarding cash so no one can even roll over their overnight funds let alone refund their paper and bonds that are maturing. Right. Private capital. Sheesh.

John McCain doesn't have a single idea or even a vague intiuition that would be remotely constructive. He didn't even understand that what the House Republicans were talking about was antithetical to what Paulson and Bernanke (1) think are the problems to be solved and (2) would possibly work. But hey, we all have to pull together and find a bipartisan solution. Like they magically become sensible policy because Mr "I Know How To Do It" is in the room. Totally apart from the outrageous and irresponsible grandstanding, he's a flaming idiot on substance.

Krugman has it right once again: Where are the grownups? A must read on the policy options.

...House Republicans grumble that Bush is “trying to tear up the Constitution” by committing the federal government to such a massive intervention in the U.S. financial markets.

Words fail me.

some House Republicans are saying privately that they'd rather "let the markets crash" than sign on to a massive bailout.

As a very non-Republican, I must say that I also would rather let the markets crash than sign on to a massive bailout. And I bought financial stocks last week.

[quote]"For the sake of the altar of the free market system, do you accept a Great Depression?" the member asked."[/quote]

... this is a rhetorical question with an expected "hell no" answer, right?

This whole thing is awful. I begin to suspect that they've confused "ends" and "means."

Oh, and while I'm ranting. Paulson reportedly was extremely leary of having the White House meeting since he feared getting squeezed from both sides. So he must be pissed as hell at the White House disaster, but not surprised.

But W must be in a fury at MCCain's shennanigans. Bush thought he was going to preside over a meeting that would get a "deal" announced at the end -- the i's and t's still to be dotted, but a deal. He called the meeting because McCain asked him to, and hauled Obama up from Florida for the occasion at McCain's personal request. But McCain couldn't have sold W on the meeting on the grounds that the whole thing was falling apart.

So W got blind-sided. Not that I have a smidgen of sympathy for Bush personally, but WTF? That 's not how you use your chips with even a lame duck President.

Country First... Even the President of the United States can't trust this guy. And not even personal credibility, honor or courtesy are important to this egomaniacal narcicist. W owes him nothing after this. Nothing.

"Let the markets crash" is not a good idea. But I cannot see how inventing $700 billion dollars that the US doesn't actually have and handing it over to the people who are responsible for the financial crisis is going to help anything. Not an economist.

Apparently, the Jefferson quote has been updated, and now states that that From time to time the Tree of Liberty* must be watered with the livelihoods of peasants (and, if at all possible, Democrats). * Liberty defined of course as meaning the AEI's version of Free Markets.


Apparently, GOP legislators have a different view of the "we broke it, we own it" rule: The deny that they broke it, and the Democrats will have to fix it without their input, support or assistance.

Republicans have short memories. They don't remember the budget surplus and projected surpluses that Clinton left them, they don't remember how or why the surpluses disappeared. They don't remember the American Dream Down Payment Initiative that Bush signed into law in 2003 or the Zero Down Payment Initiative that Bush signed into law in 2004 and how these things contributed to the mortgage mess.

No wonder they think that the current crisis is all Jimmy Carter's and Barney Frank's doing!

State of Maine tried to move %50 million of AA-rated bonds this week, to finance road repairs. The last batch sold at 3.9%

This week: no takers. At any price. So the jobs don't get done. Which idles the work crews, while the roads get worse.

This is what 'doing nothing' looks like, at a very small scale.

"This week: no takers. At any price. So the jobs don't get done."

Good. Seriously, roads are repaired on an ongoing basis in northern states, it's a predictable, annual expense. Paying for such an expense with bonds is like a home owner in Maine taking out a home equity loan to pay for their annual winter heating bill. Nuts in the extreme unless you're in a financial crisis with some plan to get out.

Great depression? Not unless we enact another New Deal.

Great depression? Not unless we enact another New Deal.

The Great Depression: began October 1929.

The first New Deal programs: began March 1933.

In Brett's mind: the one was the cause of the other.

"Great depression? Not unless we enact another New Deal."

You're confusing propaganda with history. Despite your favorite propaganda, the Depression came long before the New Deal: by over three years. The Depression began in October 1929. FDR wasn't inaugurated until March 4, 1933.

The claim that the Depression was caused by the New Deal is difficult to support.

And, yes, the New Deal greatly ameliorated the trials and despair of millions of people.

I know you don't want to believe it, since that fact offends your ideology, but it's nonetheless inescapably true.

(One invention of the New Deal: the Securities and Exchange Commission -- obviously we'd be better off without this. And Social Security. And the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). And....)

Brett's view is likely summarized here.

[...] Lowell E. Gallaway and Richard K. Vedder argue that the "Great Depression was very significantly prolonged in both its duration and its magnitude by the impact of New Deal programs." They suggest that without Social Security, work relief, unemployment insurance, mandatory minimum wages, and without special government-granted privileges for labor unions, business would have hired more workers and the unemployment rate during the New Deal years would have been 6.7% instead of 17.2%.[55]
Back in the real world, anyone who can imagine that having not created unemployment insurance/payments, Social Security, work relief programs, and so on, would have made people better off, has never experienced or had knowledge of what it's like to have no money at all.

Maybe Sen. McCain really does have the courage of his convictions after all: he looks at the situation, and asks himself What would Sarah Palin do?

Or are the Dems just afraid to pass the bailout without cover from the Republicans?

If they pass it without cover from the Republicans, McCain wins in a landslide.

@nadezdha: While you're citing Yves Smith, I should point out that he seems to share the opinion that we should let banks fail, and that the bailout as it's currently laid out (taxpayers buying bad assets at above-market prices) would be a long-term economic disaster.

The statement Hilzoy quoted above is pretty shocking. However, I don't think it's necessarily un-American or selfish to suspect that the bailout, as proposed, is not the best solution to the current financial crisis. Now, the Republican counter-proposals are mind-numbingly stupid, but I hesitate to condemn them all as selfish (on these grounds, at least).

My biggest fear is that the bailout fails to address the root cause of the crisis by artificially inflating these mortgage credit assets for years, turning what should be a short and painful series of bank failures and cheap asset acquisitions into a several-year downturn (see the Dallas Fed Chairman on this point).

Think about that statement, and the callousness, lack of imagination, and sheer lack of concern for their country that it shows.

but it's hardly unique to whoever you quoted. you can find that sentiment everywhere.

If the markets crash, it will suck. Money is the oil that makes the wheels turn. If it's really hard to get, everything grinds to a halt.

Maybe that sounds good in some kind of weirdo anarchist fantasy, but in real life it's not a good thing.

Brett, I have no interest in arguing about how road repairs in Maine should be funded. I don't live there, it's up to them how they want to run things.

What I do note is:

1. "Road repairs" can cover anything from basic replacement of consumables and wear items (pothole repair, etc) to major capital improvements (bridge building).

2. The state of Maine can't sell $50M worth of bonds at 3.9%.

Also, you should sit down with some old timers some sunny afternoon and talk to them about life during the Great Depression. It'll curl your hair.

What I want to know is why the f*%k the House Republicans didn't send effective representation to the meeting and/or present their statement of principles at an early stage.

My personal feeling is that Pelosi should bring the plan as agreed to by everyone *but* the House Republicans to the floor and let them go on record by voting against it, instead of indulging them in this back-channel horsesh*t.

Get them on record, in public. Then we will see if they want to blow the markets up to make their stupid point.

Regarding this:

"For the sake of the altar of the free market system, do you accept a Great Depression?" the member asked.

The obvious answer, both in this case and from history, is "Hell yeah!".

Market hard-asses have been with us since the market economy emerged in this country in the post-colonial period. And until the emergence of the regulatory state, they blew the economy up on a fairly regular basis through speculation and bubbles of one kind or another.

Hell yeah, they'll blow it up. They'll see us, our houses, our jobs, and our life savings in hell before they'll give up their jihad against regulation.

It's a freaking death cult. What else do you expect?

Thanks -

"Let the markets crash" is a provocative and outrageous sentiment.

But I have a problem with a quote like that when it is the meat of a story and there is no attribution.

Go on the record with such dire words -- as I have seen Republican Senator Richard Shelby do in recent days -- if it's one's aim to move the process along.

Watching a CNBC panel last night on something called "Fast Money," the "special" guest -- a non-trader -- said instead of a $700 billion that bails out Wall Street, he would like to see a moratorium on mortgage foreclosures.

Since bad mortgages are at the root of the problem, his notion was to make homeowners whole again.

The traders on the panel -- the same traders who were dizzy with delight the other night when a bailout looked like a done deal -- were aghast.

These Wall Streeters are flummoxed that lawmakers -- pressured by voters -- aren't handing over a blank check. Imagine that.

Sure, the banks need to be recapitalized. But the larger problem in the economy during the Bush Administration has been stagnant wages -- Joe and Jane Worker can't pay their bills that they were able to afford a couple of years.

I don't have an ARM or a balloon payment or a subprime mortgage. I didn't buy a McMansion. I have a 5.85 rate, traditional 30-year mortgage on a modest ranch home. I need to be recapitalized after going from $74,000 last year to $38,000 so far this year.

Fuck Wall Street.

From the movie Airplane:

Conservative Blowhard: Shanna, they bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. (turns to the camera) I say, let 'em crash!

It's actually a perfect conservative attitude: let something fail completely. Rather than prop up a shaky, undeserving program/business, let it kill itself off.

The irony is that the thing they want to self-destruct is their own golden calf of Wall Street, the Holy High Ground of free-market obsessives.

Food for thought.


"Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate.... That will purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. People will work harder, live a more moral life. Values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up the wrecks from less competent people." -- Andrew Mellon, 1930

It's called Austrians' disease, and it's all about a morality play. Just as long as the economy *learns its lesson*, who gives a FF how much suffering there is in the lesson?

There is a thick gel of complacency covering our politics. The 30s are so long ago that people think a depression is something that just can't happen again - after all, things are in *color* now, not black and white, and we're so much smarter! It's just like the idea that the Dow only goes up. It's as if there is a parallel, paper, 'hobby' economy, and then there's a real economy.

It's unfortunate (to put it mildly) that the economic ideology of people like Club For Growth will die only when it 'wins'. It owes its very exsistence to the fact that it hasn't ever been implemented - or fully implemented, anyway. When it ceases to be theoretical, ceases to be the hobby it is now, it will effectively (politically) disappear. You can't bang your little stick against an edifice that isn't there anymore. Talk about 'learning the hard way'! Unspeakably stupid.

I disagree with the second half of nis comment, but I have few opportunities to agree with Brett and I'd like to grab this one: I have never liked bond issues for expenses tnat aren't unusual or particularly unexpected. Now, I'm not well informed about finance in general or Maine in particular, so I could easily be missing an excellent argument, but it seems that with better planning and more honest accounting the state could pay for these projects on an ongoing basis and save a couple percent that now goes to debt service.

A very frighting thought....

Could it be that the House GOP & Dem Blue Dogs believe that the social disruption that MUST follow an economic meltdown will lead to to

A) to a Social Economic conservative utopia they dream of.

B) the 'End of Days'.

bedtime: fwiw, while I have precisely zero desire to help Wall Street per se -- I'm interested in the effects of any crisis on ordinary people, since I'm confident that anyone who has been pulling 7-8 figure bonuses for the last few years will somehow make out OK -- I think a freeze on foreclosures would be a spectacularly bad idea.

It does nothing to help people actually afford their homes, the way reworking the mortgage would. It makes banks less likely, not more, to extend credit. It also makes them more likely, not less, to become insolvent, which would also, ahem, affect their ability to make loans. I think it's a pure gimmick.

Intellectually, I understand what you are saying, Hilzoy.

Emotionally, I was venting.

I suspect that's why this bailout bill is dragging -- for a change, lawmakers are taking stock of voters' emotions, both a good and bad thing.

I'm not sure why I said "for a change" since politicians do that all the time -- pandering is second nature.

To be sure, there are votes to be won and lost in this whole mess occuring right before the Nov. 4 elections.

Nevertheless, I am sure there are some lawmakers who are holding up the bailout on principle.


Excellent comment, keep up the good work.

While you're citing Yves Smith, I should point out that he seems to share the opinion that we should let banks fail, and that the bailout as it's currently laid out (taxpayers buying bad assets at above-market prices) would be a long-term economic disaster.


Minor nitpick: Yves is a she, not a he.

You're correct that Yves has been leading the charge against the original Paulson TARP plan, and is generally in the camp of "don't try to reinflate the asset bubble".

Malkin has put her finger on the cause of the financial crisis. It is, of course, illegal immigrants.

I guess there must be a bailout deal because CNN tells me that "Sen. John McCain will participate in tonight's presidential debate"

Ugh -- I'll betcha that's the first thing he's going to say at the debate. "I just helped broker a deal", etc.

Those dirty Meskins, sneaking into the investment banks and trashing our economy! No doubt they're mailing billions in securities back to their families in Mexico.

McCain resumes his "suspended" campaign (the suspension apparently being confined to lying to Letterman to dump him for Couric) and issues the expected self-aggrandizing statement. Let the ridicule begin (or continue)!

So how are they going to cancel the Veep debate now?

Paulson can not or will not explain how his "plan" will work. I see a lot of chicken little "sky is falling" panic, but little work on a constructive plan to deal with either the immediate problem in the credit market or the longer term problems with the securities industry.

Paulson seems to want to be the high roller of last resort. Nobody gives him good odds of pulling it off, but we are supposed to buy into this plan anyway? The Democrats have improved the plan at the edges, but the plan still sucks. He's likely to go to the table and crap out, Vegas style. Are we really going to limit his line of credit when that occurs?

The house Republicans are using this panic to push their pet projects. If they are not serious about addressing the problem. Perhaps their obstruction will force a workable plan be proposed. Perhaps pigs will fly.

Our choice isn't "the plan" or great depression. There is currently or is going to be a recession. The government can soften the landing a little or a lot, but bad stuff is going to happen. But right now the emperor has no clothes, and the sooner we understand that the better.

We need to focus on getting the credit markets unstuck with a credible plan, and I don't see anyone coming forth with one that is politically viable.

So how are they going to cancel the Veep debate now?

Palin has to head back to Alaska and prepare for the impending Russian invasion. She can't be bothered with something as trivial as a debate.

"Also, you should sit down with some old timers some sunny afternoon and talk to them about life during the Great Depression. It'll curl your hair."

And what makes you think I haven't? Both my parents lived through the Great Depression.

I'd be a fool to think the Great Depression was started by the New Deal, but I'm scarcely alone in thinking that the New Deal was part of what made it "Great".

Personally, I suspect that a (hopefully) contained crash is Plan B for the Treasury and Federal Reserve. I at least half expect that Wachovia will be seized after the markets close this afternoon, along with an announcement that their depository business has been purchased by CitiCorp in a deal much like the JPM/WaMu deal yesterday. With the largest part of the retail finance business in reasonably solvent hands, if Congress doesn't deliver something along the lines of the Paulson plan over the weekend, the feds will let the WaMu, Wachovia, and other holding companies collapse next week. Some pension funds and many small investors will take a modest hit; some hedge funds will be wiped out; but most of the damage will be confined to the realm of exotic finance, where people became implausibly wealthy by selling each other worthless paper.

In short, if they can't stick the taxpayers with the big hit, they'll confine it to those uppity new hedge fund folk.

but I'm scarcely alone in thinking that the New Deal was part of what made it "Great"

Because your delusion is shared by others does not make you less deluded.

And what makes you think I haven't? Both my parents lived through the Great Depression.

Mmm. And you're the kind of person who, based on second-hand reports from your mother, thinks that "Riding out a hurricane can be fun".

@TLTIABQ: Ohmigosh. I don't know how long I've been reading her without knowing that, but it's a little embarrassing. Thanks for the heads-up.

And yes, I'm extremely sympathetic to the don't-prop-up-the-bubble view. Everyone's crystal balls are just so durn murky right now, I don't feel like I can trust any predictions of the consequences of one plan or another. But not pumping money into valueless assets to inflate their prices seems like a good principal.

From Long or Short Capital:

Sept. 18, 2008 — UK bans short-selling of financial stocks
Sept. 19, 2008 — US bans short-selling of financial stocks, requires reporting on all other short sales
Sept. 26, 2008 — China approves short-selling and margin accounts for first time

That's just depressing.

From btfb's links:
Food for thought.

After Hurricane Katrina, the federal government assumed roles traditionally handled by state and local governments.

And that worked so horridly when Ike hit. Oh, wait...



Shorter Douthat: "I've only been catching the election coverage on Fox news, and that makes me an expert."

Bah to both of them.

The Columbus Dispatch could barely conceal its glee in the lead editorial this morning that the next president wouldn't have money for wasteful things like national health care. Perish forbid. The peasants have gotten out of line, smash 'em down.

Mmm. And you're the kind of person who, based on second-hand reports from your mother, thinks that "Riding out a hurricane can be fun".

Well, riding out the hurricane can be idiotic if you're near the coast.

But it's the 2 weeks without water or power in 90 degree heat that really bites, trust me.

I'd be a fool to think the Great Depression was started by the New Deal, but I'm scarcely alone in thinking that the New Deal was part of what made it "Great".

If you take it as an article of faith that reducing taxes always produces better outcomes etc, then you do indeed have some company.
Of course, if you were really a true believer, you'd not need to wander around posting your beliefs I think.

You can see here how things got much better around the same time the New Deal was instituted. You can, of course, argue that correlation isn't causation. You can argue that things would've improved even faster without the New Deal...
But it all basically comes down to you knowing your answers ahead of time, regardless of the evidence.

No doubt they're mailing billions in securities back to their families in Mexico.

Fooled them, that paper is worthless! Ha, ha!

I wonder how many immigrants the US could take?

And at least Brett didn't quote Mark Steyn on Depressions. Though in his heart, I'm sure Brett thinks Steyn is right.

Matt McIrvin @ 8:43
If they pass it without cover from the Republicans, McCain wins in a landslide.

Pelosi certainly seems to agree with you. But if that's right, what does it say about the electorate?

Barney Frank demands House GOP votes on different grounds: the "rescue" depends on restoring confidence as well as restoring liquidity, and a plan without bipartisan support will inspire less confidence. Barney is a good politician, as well as a good guy, so I can't be sure his argument is entirely sincere.

In any case, I'm with Russell: if 4 out of the 5 actors in the drama agree on a plan, bring the damn thing to a vote and let the House Republicans nail their colors to the mast in opposition. If the electorate rewards them for it, the electorate deserves whatever it gets.


Both my parents lived through the Great Depression.

Mine too. Also my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and in-laws.

I'd be a fool to think the Great Depression was started by the New Deal, but I'm scarcely alone in thinking that the New Deal was part of what made it "Great".

No, you're not alone. Lots of folks think the New Deal made things worse. More and more of them each year, as the actual events recede further into history and the folks who actually lived through the damned thing pass on.

Hey, maybe all of the free market fanatics are right, and the New Deal prolonged the Depression. We can't turn back the hands of time and do the 20's and 30's over, so we'll never know, will we? It'll just be your guess against mine.

I can live with that.

What I do know is that New Deal programs made work, money, and food available to a lot of folks I know. They kept familes together, and gave a lot of very discouraged people something constructive to do, and something to look forward to.

They made things materially better for millions of people. As public efforts go, that's pretty damned good.

Hey, maybe the whole thing will blow up again and you will get a chance to try your ideas out this time. We'll all be interested in seeing how it turns out, believe me. Good luck.

Thanks -

If the electorate rewards them for it, the electorate deserves whatever it gets.

That's all very well, if there were a parallel universe all the McCain voters could be sent to so that they alone would suffer the effects. Unfortunately the rest of us are on the same planet, and we don't deserve it.

There is a parallel universe. It's right behind a comet, and you can get there by eating speical applesauce. I say they go for it.


Unfortunately the rest of us are on the same planet, and we don't deserve it.

KC, the proposition was that "McCain wins in a landslide" if the Democrats have to pass the rescue deal singlehanded. I don't believe it, myself.

But if it were true, do "we" deserve a McCain presidency any more than "we" deserve a depression? Well, yes we do: if we're signed up to live in mutual citizenship with people who can be fooled as easily as that, what else do we "deserve"?


"If the electorate rewards them for it, the electorate deserves whatever it gets."

As far as the presidential election, I think most of the public couldn't help but notice John McCain stood out in a panic and looked like an idiot.

Hell, McCain has made George W. Bush look presidential.

Barack Obama acted like the adult here, while McCain looked like he was sitting at the kids table during Thanksgiving dinner -- nobody giving a damn what this 72-year-old juvenile thinks.

I don't think I would trust McCain with my finances, much less the country's.

In the midst of talk about the Great Depression and terror on Wall Street, why they could not switch the topic of tonight's presidential debate to the economy seems stupid.



Out of touch.

I'd love to see McCain have to explain how he was for more oversight but against more regulation.

Bedtime, I expect there'll be a bit of thread drift in the debate answers.

The hysteria surrounding this plan is palpable. Everyone needs to take a deep breath. This is not the solution to our problems.

Everyone says terrible things will happen if we don't pass this plan. Terrible things will happen if we do pass this plan. We need a new plan.

Bob Schieffer said on Colbert last night that he was almost sure the questions from Jim Lehrer would include economic issues, as well. It would be bizarre if they didn't.

The U.S. attacks in Pakistan and the Pakistani Army's firing back deserve some attention, though. Glad I won't be watching to see the answer to Quien es mas macho?

[Yes, that's missing the Spanish intro-question-mark, but I don't remember the keystrokes to produce it.]

That should read that terrible things will happen even if we do pass the plan.

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