Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The battle now underway in the US Senate

So the finance reform bill is being debated, with voting expected to start today on certain non-controversial clauses.

The main bill is apparently nearly 1,600-pages (I haven't seen them yet!) but it was developed over six months of negotiation between the Democrats and the Republicans.

The very first amendment is expected to be proposed by Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer.

She wants to add a clause or phrase saying that no "taxpayer funds" can be used in future to bail out financial institutions.

This is an idea likely to gain support from both parties.

But the key question is going to be the definition of "taxpayer funds", since money paid by taxpayers is only a very small part of government funding (even if that part provides the base for everything else that the government does).

There are numerous ways which do not involve the direct use of taxpayer funds (e.g. bonds, derivatives, government guarantees/ directives/ nods and winks - as in China!) which would have an effect similar to the actions that were taken by governments to rescue banks at the height of the crisis.

The specific words and the definitions are the therefore the things to watch, in order to determine whether the legislation will be full of holes or (more or less) solid. Sphere: Related Content

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