Crazy Housing Bill Requires Online Sales to be Reported to Feds

It’s true what they say about observing the creation of sausage and lawmaking.

Deep in the bowels of Senator Chris Dodd’s new 630-page housing Bill, which is an attempt to address the housing crisis by refinancing and buying out subprime mortgages, lies a provision that will require a variety of companies to report electronic sales to the government. According to FreedomWorks, the Bill features a new addition (slipped in last week with no debate) that will require every credit card company and online payment system (including eBay’s Paypal) to report transactions to a government-managed database. In other words: The government may soon be able to know every book, movie, piece of clothing, and, really, anything else you purchase unless you pay for it with cash.

Scary? You better believe it.

With the Bill passing the Senate banking committee by a huge vote of 19 to 2, it’s expected to pass the Senate and head to the President’s desk in relatively short order. There may however be a surprise hero: Bush has unexpectedly threatened to veto the Bill, which it’s said he perceives as an expensive and irresponsible bailout. (The veto threat has nothing to do with the spying provision.)

Dodging a bullet? Sounds like it, but it shouldn’t have to happen this way, should it?

What I really don’t understand is what Dodd is doing behind this nonsense. Dodd was one of the few Congressmen who stood up against the telecom retroactive immunity legislation that’s been wending its way through Congress this year. Dodd managed to stop the original Bill in its tracks a few months ago through a filibuster, but, in a bizarre coincidence, the revised version of that Bill just passed the House and is likely to be approved by the Senate next. Isn’t Dodd supposed to be a hero of the common man? What the heck is going on?