Democratic Representative Michael Capuano from Massachusetts, quoted in an Associated Press story by Ken Thomas and Julie Hirschfeld Davis, came up with the best response when the Chief Executive Officers of General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler came to Washington to ask the House of Representatives for some $25 billion worth of loans:
My fear is that you're going to take this money and continue the same stupid decisions you've made for 25 years.
Capuano's Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, decided to take him seriously, as did Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
Democratic leaders in Congress sidetracked legislation to bail out the auto industry Thursday and demanded the Big Three develop a plan assuring the money would make them economically viable. "Until they show us the plan, we cannot show them the money," Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said at a hastily called news conference in the Capitol.
She and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Congress would return to work in early December to vote on legislation if General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC produce an acceptable plan.
This may be the most sensible move yet to come out of Washington in dealing with the economic crisis: Don't fork over the money without some guarantee that it will be spent effectively! So why didn't anyone think to say the same thing to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson? Was it just because he asked for a larger amount of money?