Democrats Battling to Add Restrictions to Bailout
David Lightman and Margaret Talev, McClatchy Newspapers: "Congressional Democrats inched close to agreement Monday on the terms of a $700 billion rescue package to stabilize shaky financial markets, but continued to encounter White House resistance to key points. 'The Bush administration has called on Congress to rubber-stamp its bailout legislation without serious debate or efforts to improve it. That will not happen,' said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev."
Please contact your representatives and urge them to insist on tying some strings to that package that will 1) prevent further abuses by the economic "experts" who created the problem in the first place, and 2) provide some real benefits to taxpayers in exchange for the huge investment. You might want to personlize your message by explaining what you would do with $2000-5000 dollars (your share of the bailout) and why you can't afford that money to go to rich people and corporations.
Here is one good opportunity for comment from Working Families.
Here's another one from MoveOn.
Here's a Vote No Bailout button you can put on your website or blog.
Obama Outlines Plan to Reform Washington's "Greed and Excesses"
David Nather, Congressional Quarterly: "Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama outlined a broad plan to 'reform the greed and excesses of Washington' on Monday, calling for a series of changes in the way Congress does business. It's not clear whether Democratic leaders in Congress are willing to go along with what their party's nominee is suggesting. The plan goes well beyond responding to the financial meltdown, which has become Washington's top priority. It would require Congress, among other things, to hold all conference committee meetings and committee markups in public and spell out who benefits from all tax breaks in all new tax bills -- in keeping with the open-government theme the senator from Illinois has championed throughout his campaign."
If you oppose corporate welfare and support transparent government, take a look at Obama's platform. He's on your side.
McCain Aide's Firm Was Paid by Freddie Mac
Jackie Calmes and David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times: "One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through last month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain's campaign manager, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement. The disclosure undercuts a statement by Mr. McCain on Sunday night that the campaign manager, Rick Davis, had had no involvement with the company for the last several years."
If you're rich enough to benefit from the bailouts, well, you'll probably find McCain more to your taste. He has close ties there.
Dean Baker | Bush Brings WMD Line to Wall Street
Dean Baker, Truthout: "Remember how President Bush got Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell to run around warning about Saddam Hussein's nuclear bombs? This phony scare tactic got Congress to give him the authorization he needed to start the Iraq war. Even though his credibility has vanished, in large part because of the Iraq war, President Bush is again using a lie to cow Congress into giving him a huge blank check. This time, the check is for $700 billion, to be handed over to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, to spend pretty much as he wants."
Can You Trust a Wall Street Veteran With a Wall Street Bailout?
Kevin G. Hall, McClatchy Newspapers: "Making the rounds on the Sunday morning talk shows, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson repeatedly said today's financial problems were long in the making. He should know. He was part of the Gold Rush that has brought the global financial system to the brink of collapse. Paulson presided over one of the most profitable runs on Wall Street as chairman and chief executive officer of investment banking titan Goldman Sachs & Co. from 1999 until President Bush nominated him on May 30, 2006 to take over the Treasury Department."
The above two articles talk about trust. Do you trust George W. Bush? Do you trust the economists, brokers, and bank presidents? Those are the people who would be responsible for making the big bailout work.
Marc Ash | Roll Back the Interest Rates
Marc Ash, Truthout: "The big bailout option doesn't fix the problem, it only converts the problem to national debt. The problem then lives on. Greed is not good...greed is not right...greed does not work. Roll back the interest rates, keep people in their homes, restore broad economic stability."
This article points out a crucial point: the bailout merely transfers the problem to the national debt, which is already crushing. That's not a good solution.
Yannick Mireur | Reconciling Main Street and Wall Street
Yannick Mireur and Nicolas Barre, Les Echos: In the pages of France's premier business paper, the editor in chief of the French "American Policy" review argues for a return to the New Deal's social contract, while Nicolas Barre deplores the opportunities wasted by the necessary bailout of the US banking system. ... The lawmakers objected strenuously to the broad authority Mr. Paulson was requesting, the lack of additional steps to help homeowners avoid foreclosure and the absence of any demands for ownership stakes in the banks that are helped."
The above article discusses what went wrong and what improvements must be made to prevent the further meltdown of the economy.
Lawmakers Challenge Lack of Help Aimed at US Homeowners
Mark Landler and David M. Herszenhorn, The New York Times: "The White House waged a multifront campaign Tuesday to persuade Congress to accept its vast bailout plan, with President Bush telling world leaders that the United States had taken 'bold steps' to stanch the financial crisis while Vice President Dick Cheney and other top officials went to Capitol Hill to try to persuade reluctant lawmakers ... The lawmakers objected strenuously to the broad authority Mr. Paulson was requesting, the lack of additional steps to help homeowners avoid foreclosure and the absence of any demands for ownership stakes in the banks that are helped."
Consider that a person with a home and a decent job actively contributes to the economy. A person driven homeless by debt uses up resources rather than contributing resources, and has less vested interest in seeing society succeed. Therefore, it is in America's best interest to ensure that as many people as possible have homes and jobs sufficient to their needs. Nobody who is willing and able to work should be denied work, because there is no shortage of work that needs to be done. Nobody should have to be homeless when there are houses and buildings standing empty. That's a disgraceful waste of resources and human potential, created not by genuine lack but by a failure to connect needs to resources.
William J. Astore | Reviving National Service in a Big Way
William J. Astore, TomDispatch.com: "... Amazingly enough, ordinary Americans generally don't want bail-outs, nor do they want handouts. What they normally want is honorable work, decent wages, and a government willing to wake up and help them contribute to a national restoration."
This is a vital point. I'll reiterate that handouts alone don't solve anything, just provide temporary relief. The underlying problems must be solved, or the relief soon wanes. A healthy economy requires plenty of good jobs, preferably in sustainable businesses.