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Protests Against Bank Bailouts Erupted 8 Years Ago

Protests Against Bank Bailouts Erupted 8 Years Ago
On Sept. 25, 2008, President George W. Bush, right, met with congressional leaders during a White House meeting, to discuss bailout of the financial industry. From left are Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., House Minority Leader Sen. John Boehner, R-Ohio, and U.S. House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Monday, 25 September 2017 10:19 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Eight years ago today, protests against the proposed bank bailouts took place in more than 100 cities across the nation.[1] The Los Angeles Times reported that "the increasingly loud roar coming from all corners of the nation shows that the idea of a bailout has touched a particularly sensitive nerve among the public."[2]

At that time, The New York said, "Americans’ anger is in full bloom."[3]

Significantly, the protests took place a day after opposing presidential candidates Barack Obama (D) and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., issued a joint statement stressing the need to pass a bailout plan.[4] The support for the bailouts among established political leaders from both parties stood in marked contrast to the public opposition found across the political spectrum.

Public anger over the bailouts eventually led to the creation of the tea party, a history recorded in a book I wrote with Doug Schoen, "Mad As Hell: How the Tea Party Movement Is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System."

Public anger grew over time as many believed that political leaders were more interested in protecting Wall Street than main street. That reality was described in a book by Neil Barofsky, who served as inspector general for the bailout fund. The former prosecutor’s book, "Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street," describes how “his efforts to protect against fraud and to hold the big banks accountable were met with outright hostility from Treasury officials." Barofsky noted his own surprise that the hostile reaction remained the same when the Bush administration officials were replaced with Obama administration officials.

Each weekday, Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day explores interesting and newsworthy topics at the intersection of culture, politics, and technology. Columns published on Ballotpedia reflect the views of the author.

Scott Rasmussen is a Senior Fellow for the Study of Self-Governance at the King’s College in New York and an Editor-At-Large for Ballotpedia, the Encyclopedia of American Politics. His most recent book, "Politics Has Failed: America Will Not," was published by the Sutherland Institute in May.To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.


  1. 13 WHAM, "Rochester Protest Against Bailout One of Many Across Country," September 26, 2008
  2. Los Angeles Times, "Masses aren't buying bailout," September 26, 2008
  3. The New York Times, "Constituents Make Their Bailout Views Known," September 24, 2008
  4. CNN, "McCain, Obama headed to Washington for bailout talks," September 25, 2008

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Eight years ago today, protests against the proposed bank bailouts took place in more than 100 cities across the nation.
main street, schoen, wall street
Monday, 25 September 2017 10:19 AM
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