Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wall Street vs Main Street

We American taxpayers are now the proud owners of Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and AIG at a cost of $700 Billion dollars, whether we like it or not. At $2000 for every man, woman & child in this country, I wonder what we are getting.

They say we are buying some financial stability, but that's hard for those of us within shouting distance of retirement to believe. We are going to be paying for this deregulation party for years. We really need to ask "what's in it for me?" Without taxpayer protection, it's still business as usual for the Bush White House.

There are lots of details flying, too many for most people to absorb. What is spin, what is real? Legislators are in DC working the details and some expected their solution by the time the opening bell rings on Wall Street Monday morning. That's all well and good and I am glad they are putting in the time to try and get this country back on track. Let this crises not be handled with the hysterical way of the USA Patriot Act. Safeguarding America, my ass! So while the horses are out of the barn, let's bring them back in in an orderly, thoughtful fashion with the least damaging effect on the least amount of taxpayers.

We haven't heard enough about executive compensation, but I hope that it will be addressed. I fear that that will be swept away as so many other important details are in crises like this. I don't care what their hiring package said, they should default on their golden parachute as much as they defaulted on their implied trust to the institutions that they led. If we taxpayers are to carry this financial burden for years or maybe decades, shouldn't they do the same? There is hope that some are focusing on just that. Senator Charles Schumer too when he appeared on "Fox News Sunday", saying "we need changes related to housing, we need to put the taxpayer first ahead of bondholders, shareholders". House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass. "I don't want the American taxpayer to get this bad debt and then the guy (whose company once held the bad loans) gets millions of dollars on his way out the door,".

Adam Davidson at Planet Money over at NPR takes a look at the White House Bailout plan (h/t to Larisa Alexandrovna at at-Largely). Davidson calls this bailout one of the biggest peacetime transfers of power from Congress to the Administration in history. He points out one of the more scary parts of the bailout proposal. Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency. The Bush administration is up to it's usual tricks, business as usual, business that has tragically and adversely affect the middle class for the last 8 years.

George Bush was wrong when he said that the problems on Wall Street first showed up in the area of subprime mortgages. Those problems have been simmering for years and years with recklessness, corruption and greed while Washington did nothing to stop it. If you think this pushback is overblown, consider this article from the UK TimesOnline , Staff at Lehman’s New York office who helped to cause the world’s biggest corporate bankruptcy are to share in a $2.5 billion bonanza. Why is this not being reported in the US corporate media?

It's no surprise that the Bush administration still expects US citizens to sit back and do nothing, but this is the fight of our lives and a fight for our future. Please contact your representatives at Senate switchboard (202) 224-3121 and House of Representatives switchboard (202) 224-3121. And if a phone call is too much to do, at least take a look at this online petition from Credo calling for "No Blank Check for Wall Street


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