Watching the latest from the administration as they push hard for the whopping $700 billion Wall Street bailout, it is clear that they are trying to ramrod this deal down our throats before the American people know what they are swallowing.
We should all oppose it vehemently, until we are told more.
Here is why:Who can believe anything this administration tells us anymore?This rush-to-pass a huge piece of legislation smells just like the 2002 resolution to authorize the use of force in Iraq. In both cases the administration used fear of impending doom to scare the Congress into passing a bill many had private doubts about.In 2003 the administration lied to the Republican Congress about the real cost of the Medicare Prescription Drug Program, hiding the fact that the bill actually cost $400 billion more than they told the Congress.The news that the FBI has opened criminal inquiries into Lehman Brothers, AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for fraud should make us all wonder if our tax money will be handed over to criminals who have already run their companies into the ground and will now live to rip us off another day. If we do this bailout, perhaps we should force drastic changes: in return for the $700 billion from the taxpayers, these Wall Street firms should be forced to change their entire compensation system and to hand over an equity stake in their companies.
We cannot have the average American taxpayer subsidizing rich, overpaid executives. No, it is time for real pain to be shared by the rich who have so mis-managed their own firms by taking on such huge debts. Their perks, their country club memberships, their “toys,” their secret partnership “good bye” funds all have to be a part of this story. And the taxpayer has to get a firm something in return for such a massive bailout/loan.
Equity, something of more value than almost-worthless mortgage-backed-securities, needs to be put up to secure such an unprecedented loan/subsidy/bailout.
Secretary Paulson cannot be given sole power to distribute money to his former colleagues on Wall Street. That just isn’t the American Way. We don’t have dictators and un-checked potentates. There will have to be an entity that shares the power to distribute this massive bailout.
One other political note: this financial crisis has sucked the air out of the presidential race. Have you noticed how off-to-the-side both Obama and McCain seem? Amazing. As one of them, in 42 days, will be the most powerful person on the planet.
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