Apparently, a struggle is taking place in the US Congress regarding the exact terms of the rescue package for the US (and international) financial system. Equally apparently, the proposed bill was supposed to have been $500bn, is now $700bn - and no one knows what the final size of the bill may be.

A statement issued on behalf of Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, reportedly says: “Congress will respond to the financial markets crisis by taking action this week in a bipartisan manner...(but the Democrats) “will not simply hand over a $700bn blank cheque to Wall Street....(and would like to have) independent oversight, protections for homeowners and constraints on excessive executive compensation.”

Protections for homeowners are needed and will be popular. Constraints on excessive executive compensation are equally needed but will be unpopular (at least with the executives of financial institutions).

However, the real question is whether the US legislative system has the nous to put together with any speed anything like the brief required to put together any agency for "independent oversight".

Indeed, the US needs to ask whether another agency is what is needed. Rather, can the entire fragmented US system not be put together within one framework that, at the same time, avoids the overlapping monopolies of the different agencies there while allowing for much more competition?

Prabhu Guptara