Both William Kristol and Paul Krugman weighed in on the Administration's Trillion Dollar game plan in today's New York Times. Can you connect the dots from opinion to opinionator?Here's K-1:
Everyone seems to agree on the need for a big and comprehensive plan, and that the markets have to have some confidence that help is on the way. Funds need to be supplied, trading markets need to be stabilized, solvent institutions needs to be protected, and insolvent institutions need to be put on the path to a deliberate liquidation or reorganization.But is the administrations proposal the right way to do this? It would enable the Treasury, without Congressionally approved guidelines as to pricing or procedure, to purchase hundreds of billions of dollars of financial assets, and hire private firms to manage and sell them, presumably at their discretion There are no provisions for or even promises of disclosure, accountability or transparency. Surely Congress can at least ask some hard questions about such an open-ended commitment.
And here's K-2:
Im aware that Congress is under enormous pressure to agree to the Paulson plan in the next few days, with at most a few modifications that make it slightly less bad. Basically, after having spent a year and a half telling everyone that things were under control, the Bush administration says that the sky is falling, and that to save the world we have to do exactly what it says now now now.But Id urge Congress to pause for a minute, take a deep breath, and try to seriously rework the structure of the plan, making it a plan that addresses the real problem. Dont let yourself be railroaded if this plan goes through in anything like its current form, well all be very sorry in the not-too-distant future.
You know it's really serious when K and K, even temporarily, start to sound alike.

Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is a longtime Commonweal contributor.

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