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Paulson: No Money for Plumbers!

Lawmakers are struggling to figure out who is eligible for the $700 billion bailout/rescue money and who isn't, given the strangeness we've seen in recent weeks. For instance: credit-card company American Express says it is now a bank-holding company so it can get federal money.

Suddenly, Amex is a "financial institution" and eligible for federal money. Naturally, this has confused many, including lawmakers at today's House Financial Services committee, which is grilling Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair right now.

Welll, moments ago, Paulson provided some clarity on what is a financial institution and what is not by striking one group off the bailout eligibility list: plumbers.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) tried to nail down Paulson on who qualifies for the federal money, asking for a "clear black-and-white definition."

"Congressman, I can't," Paulson said. "We have a very broad definition and I think that's appropriate."

Hensarling noted that he had read that plumbing contractors were going to apply for federal money to refurbish foreclosed properties.

"We certainly are not going to give money to plumbing contractors," Paulson responded.

Maybe members of the committee can spend the rest of their time listing occupations -- welder, insurance salesman, convenience-store clerk, astronaut, whatever -- to see if they're on Paulson's list.

Wise-cracking committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) couldn't resist from making a Joe the Plumber reference.

"The 15 minutes of fame for the plumbing industry appear to have ended," he said.

-- Frank Ahrens

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By Frank Ahrens  |  November 18, 2008; 10:51 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: American Express, Paulson, bailout  
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Comments

You think airports are going to be really busy this holiday season ?

Oh, you know, I have decided to stay at home this Thanksgiving. As if I were the President travelling by Air Force One to a political fund raiser disguised as "official" business. Yea don't forget your golf clubs. As a former Republican, I could lie and say that the lobbyist's Lear Jet in the shop.

On the menu will be fresh Spam on a stick carefully roasted over my kerosene heating (which is the primary source of heating my home). In addition, I may have eggs just because you know, "eggs and spam, eggs in spam" dah, dah, dah. If I can afford eggs. I probably have a can of peas in the pantry just waiting for a special occasion. I like french, la petite pea (something like that) via Monsier Green Giante.

Holidays are supposed to be spent with family and friends, I think. Few years back, I had a friend that became suicidal on a holiday. I had a hell of a time contacting authorities to report a possible self-homicide. I don't know where that girl is today. I hope that she is alive and well.

I wish as was a plumber but not the Watergate type.

Happy Holidays ?

Posted by: truthhurts | November 18, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

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