(Protect your retirement, income and an opportunity to buy a home at a fair and real market price. Sign U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders' petition against the Bush bailout of Wall Street. Also, listen to Glenn Greenwald's interview of Pulitzer-prize winning reporter David Cay Johnston on how the corporate media has once again failed the American people.)
A House Democrat has presented a pragmatic plan—the No Bailouts Act—to help solve the country’s current investment banking and financial crisis.
The Democratic leadership, including presidential contender Barack Obama, should get behind this plan, help to improve it and then work to pass it. Essentially, the plan shifts the burden and risk of saving Wall Street to those people who made the bad decisions that led their companies into insolvency.
There is some government help and guarantees, but nothing along the lines of the $700 billion plan pushed by President George Bush and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to further enrich the GOP political base on Wall Street.
Here is what the corporate media is not reporting: There are many established economists who believe the Bush/Paulson bailout plan will not even work. Can you imagine giving a $700 billion gift to Wall Street bankers without any real sense or guarantee the money would settle the market and help regular people with credit, retirement and mortgages? But that is exactly the real risk of the Bush/Paulson plan. The corporate media coverage of the Bush bailout is similar to its coverage of the run-up to the Iraq occupation. It takes every utterance of the Bush administration as the truth, fails to fact check hysterical and outrageous claims and mocks and dismisses anyone who has a different opinion.
The No Bailouts Act ((Bringing Accountability, Increased Liquidity, Oversight, and Upholding Taxpayer Security) is sponsored by Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio, a Democrat. According to media reports, the plan is based on ideas presented by former FDIC Chair William Isaac, who wants to help banks get enough capital to weather the current financial crisis. A similar program during the 1980s banking crisis only cost the federal government $2 billion.
The idea is to lend help to the short-term banking crisis while allowing political leaders time to develop a more comprehensive economic plan that helps all Americans. This plan will probably have to be implemented after the November elections because of the possible political fallout.
Media pundits from all sides of the political spectrum, including Paul Krugman and George Will ("Congress should disconnect from a public" that cannot comprehend the nuances and complications of high finance), have now arrogantly mocked anyone who wants to respond to the so-called financial crisis outside of the Bush/Paulson rubric. The prevailing hysterical mantra in the corporate media is “we have to do something right away,” and if you do not favor the Bush/Paulson plan then “you do not get it.” But no one has offered a shred of compelling evidence that Bush is somehow right on this issue given his administration’s past failures.
As I have said in earlier posts, this is a carpe diem moment for Democrats. Now is the time, as the country focuses on the abject failure of right-wing ideology, to reclaim our economic system for regular people after eight gruesome years of the Bush program, which has rewarded the rich at the expense of the middle class. The bottom line is the Wall Street crooks will squander your income and retirement money as their media lapdogs, some of whom disguised themselves as liberals, openly laugh in your face. What else is new, right?
House Democrats should unite and defeat the massive $700 billion financial bailout of Wall Street.
Not only does it make sense to refocus the bailout on middle-class taxpayers it would also ensure sweeping Democratic wins in the November elections.
President George Bush and the members of his ruling junta, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, are proposing taxpayers put their money on the line for Wall Street investment firms and banks. This committed money will mean fewer programs for the middle-class in the future. It will almost certainly jeopardize the government programs Social Security and Medicare.
It will also affect state government budgets, as well, because the federal government will have to slash funding to state programs that help the vast majority of Americans.
Those who support the measure, and this includes many leading Democrats, say the measure has safeguards, that Americans are actually buying a stake of these financially insolvent companies. If the companies rebound, then taxpayers could benefit, they argue. Do you actually believe this?
But the bottom line is the people who were wrong about the subprime mortgage crisis and housing bubble are the ones now pushing this radical solution. Why do it so quickly? What are the political bigwigs and investment bankers trying to hide from the public? How will this bailout affect you in years to come? No one can answer that.
Here are some issues and questions raised by Ohio's U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich about the bailout:
The $700 billion bailout for Wall Street, is driven by fear not fact. This is too much money in too a short a time going to too few people while too many questions remain unanswered. Why aren't we having hearings on the plan we have just received? Why aren't we questioning the underlying premise of the need for a bailout with taxpayers' money? Why have we not considered any alternatives other than to give $700 billion to Wall Street? Why aren't we asking Wall Street to clean up its own mess? Why aren't we passing new laws to stop the speculation, which triggered this? Why aren't we putting up new regulatory structures to protect investors? How do we even value the $700 billion in toxic assets?
Why aren't we helping homeowners directly with their debt burden? Why aren't we helping American families faced with bankruptcy. Why aren't we reducing debt for Main Street instead of Wall Street? Isn't it time for fundamental change in our debt based monetary system, so we can free ourselves from the manipulation of the Federal Reserve and the banks? Is this the United States Congress or the board of directors of Goldman Sachs? Wall Street is a place of bears and bulls. It is not smart to force taxpayers to dance with bears or to follow closely behind the bulls.
In a press release today, state Sen. Andrew Rice, a Democrat running against U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe in Oklahoma this year, said, "This bill gives too much away to the people who created these problems without guaranteeing that it won't happen again. Any bill would need to require much tougher consequences for Wall Street in order to earn my support."
That is a good stance for Democrats, though I would go further and suggest party leaders completely shred the Bush plan and start over. First, we should implement a bailout for the middle class, then we can worry about Wall Street. We should work from the bottom up, not the top down.
The House is supposed to vote on the measure today. Watch as leading national Democrats capitulate one-by-one to Bush’s last bit of thievery and then actually try to take credit for it.
Public opinion is against the bailout. Democrats should seize the day and create a bailout plan that forces many Wall Street investment firms to face the consequences of their own reckless decisions and greed as it helps ordinary Americans keep their homes. Democrats are risking the viability of their party if they go along with the Bush plan.
(Oklahoma needs to increase public education funding to at least the regional state average. Now there is HOPE this can happen soon. Read DocHoc's commentary this week in Oklahoma City's best alternative newspaper, the Oklahoma Gazette.)
If you need more confirmation about how absurd and mean local right-wing ideology has become, just check out Friday’s The Oklahoman.
The newspaper published an editorial (“Round and round: Bus eating schools budgets,” September 26, 2008) essentially arguing that state schools should not offer or reduce bus service for students. It argues that bus service “. . . seems a bit of a luxury, not a necessity.” High gasoline prices have driven up bus service costs, according to the article, and though it would not be easy, should not parents “take on drop-off and pick-up duties”?
As we end bus service school to the state’s school children because of high fuel costs, according to The Oklahoman, we should rescue Wall Street bankers. In an editorial published on the same day as the bus service rant, the newspaper looks to U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn for guidance about saving the major financial Wall Street companies facing insolvency.
The editorial (The Deal: Risks of inaction worse than bailout,” September 26, 2008) finds the crisis is “requiring free marketeers like himself [Coburn] to concede the need for government action, that's meaningful.” The editorial agues the country should bailout Wall Street investment bankers because “. . . the risks of doing nothing are simply harder.”
So let us get our GOP ideology straight here. The parents of Oklahoma school children should just accept the fact their children cannot ride the bus to school. That’s just life. Get over it. Meanwhile, rich investment bankers should get a taxpayer bailout from these parents because, well, we have to do something, right?
Let me clearly state the newspaper’s position: School children. Buses. Bad. Wall Street. Investment bankers. Good.
The foundation of GOP philosophy—the idea that the free market is the arbitrator of all reality—has now been exposed as fraudulent because of the massive government intervention into the Wall Street crisis. Across the country, Americans are waking up to the giant GOP/Bush hangover, the lies, hypocrisy, contradictions.
But here in Oklahoma, the state’s right-wing propaganda ministry churns on relentlessly, and even school children are not safe from its wrath.