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This is what I call an ambitious man. From Bloomberg :

The Bush administration asked Congress for unchecked power to buy $700 billion in bad mortgage investments from U.S. financial companies in what would be an unprecedented government intrusion into the markets.

The plan, designed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, is aimed at averting a credit freeze that would bring the financial system and economic growth to a standstill. The bill would bar courts from reviewing actions taken under its authority.

``It sounds like Paulson is asking to be a financial dictator, for a limited period of time,'' said historian John Steele Gordon, author of ``Hamilton's Blessing,'' a chronicle of the national debt. ``This is a much-needed declaration of power for the Treasury secretary. We can't wait until the next administration in January.''

The plan necessitates raising the ceiling for the national debt and spends as much money as the combined annual budgets of the Departments of Defense, Education and Health and Human Services. Paulson is asking for the power to hire asset managers and award contracts to private companies...

... 

The proposal would raise the nation's debt ceiling to $11.315 trillion from $10.615 trillion and require the Treasury secretary to report back to Congress three months after Treasury first uses its new powers, and then semiannually after that.

Paulson would gain discretion to act as he ``deems necessary'' to hire people, enter into contracts and issue regulations related to a revival of U.S. mortgage finance, according to a three-page proposal. The Treasury would ``take into consideration'' protecting taxpayers and promoting market stability.

The Treasury plans to hire managers to purchase the assets through so-called reverse auctions, seeking the lowest prices, a person briefed on the proposal said yesterday. The document specifies that Treasury may buy only assets from U.S.-based financial institutions issued or originated on or before Sept. 17...

... Bush today said he's unconcerned that the price tag on the package may seem high.

``I'm sure there are some of my friends out there that are saying, I thought this guy was a market guy, what happened to him,'' the president said. ``My first instinct was to let the market work, until I realized, while being briefed by the experts, how significant this problem became.''

Geisst said the outcome of the government's actions will be a diminution of Wall Street's influence, as the government's supervisory role expands.

``I think it's going to slip to its lowest point of influence and stature since'' the Great Depression, he said. ``And it will slip way back in the business they do.''

 And they actually want to prevent us from shorting these Wall Street stocks?