President Bush is urging Congress to act quickly on his proposal to allow the government to purchase hundreds of dollars of billions of dollars worth of bad debt to bail out a financial system teetering on the brink of collapse.
Congressional members have worked throughout the weekend to hammer out the plan's specifics, in part because they are set to recess this Friday and won't return until after the presidential election. But financial experts have said there's no way to know if this daring step actually will works.
"I don't think anyone knows whether it will work or not. I think in the short run it has the potential to increase confidence," said financial analyst David Vise on "Good Morning America Weekend Edition" today. "The plan is basically to prop up the United States system."
But finding a solution to the credit crisis that has now dominated the financial markets won't happen without some pain, according to Vise.
"There is no panacea, There is not painless solution here," said Vise, who added the economy's primary problem is a lack of confidence. "The idea is to inspire confidence."
"What this plan does is buy time," he added, of the rescue that is the largest since The Great Depression.
The proposal would raise the statutory limit on the national debt from $10.6 trillion to $11.3 trillion to make room for the massive rescue.
The idea is that with cleared balance sheets, banks could go back to work and again lend money to individuals for new homes, cars, businesses and college tuitions.
The government doesn't want to own the bad mortgages for long. The plan is to resell them eventually and recoup the money. The Treasury's new powers would last for only two years and the secretary would have to report to Congress semi-annually.
"The government becomes essentially, one of the largest, or the largest home owner in the country," said Stanford Group Company analyst Anne Mathias. "When you joke about your mortgage and you say, 'Well, I don't own my house, the bank owns my house.' Well, now, you don't own your house but the government owns your house."
But the bailout could have an economic downside — inflation.
"[There is] no question at all is that this could increase inflation," Vise said. He said officials believe a rise in inflation is less of a problem than troubles currently causing the economy's hemorrhaging.
But Bush has said the risks of doing nothing far outweigh any challenges the plan may bring.
"My first instinct was to let the market work until I realized, upon being briefed by the experts, how significant this problem became," Bush said. "I decided to act and act boldly."
The Bush proposal is a mere three pages in length and fails to specify just exactly which institution would qualify for the aid. It also doesn't say what taxpayers would get in return.