By AlterNet Staff, AlterNet. Posted September 23, 2008.
You can help stop the economic hijacking before it's too late.
The Bush era has been a period of one outrage following the next, but the administration's bailout of Wall Street's wheeler-dealers is the most outrageous yet!
Bush's parting gift to the fat cats who twice filled his campaign coffers to the brim -- when they weren't busy playing fast and loose with the American economy -- is a huge pile of tax dollars that will get them out of the problems their recklessness created, while leaving Main Street high and dry and at risk of foreclosure.
Here are five things about the crisis -- and the Bush-Paulson Plan -- that we just can't believe our officials would even have the nerve to contemplate, as well as something you can do to help stop them …
1. They're Making Longtime Wall Street Honcho Henry Paulson Into an Emperor!
We just can't get over this little tiny section in the Bush-Paulson plan. Just 32 words long, it says that the whole thing is up to Paulson's "discretion" and "may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency." That's like burning the Constitution! What happened to the separation of powers -- to checks and balances?
2. They Want the Fox to Guard the Henhouse: Wall Street Brokers Will Decide Which Wall Street Brokers Get a Piece of the Pie!
Believe it or not, Henry Paulson, who was a key player in creating this mess in the first place as the CEO of brokerage giant Goldman Sachs, wants to "outsource" the buying and selling of all these junk securities to Wall Street money managers. Remember, there are no restrictions on what they can do -- their actions can't even be reviewed by the courts!
3. They Want to Establish American Socialism for the Richest, and Dog-Eat-Dog for the Rest of Us!
Another thing that's sticking in our craw is that this outrage is being pushed by the very same politicians who passed the horrible bankruptcy "reform" bill in 2005. That law actually made the mortgage situation worse, because it kept ordinary people from getting out from under a pile of consumer debt, and many more ended up losing their homes as a result.
When Bush signed the law, he said, "America is a nation of personal responsibility where people are expected to meet their obligations," but that only goes for the Little Guy -- the Big Boys get to make a mess and take no responsibility for it at all!
4. Nobody Knows How Much They'll Really End Up Pilfering From the Treasury!
The headlines all say that it's a $700 billion bailout. But the plan that Bush put together only says that Paulson can hold onto $700 billion in bad securities at one time! He can buy some, sell 'em at fire-sale prices and then buy some more. Even worse, nobody knows what the final bill will be, because nobody knows what all those bad mortgages are worth.
5. They Want to Borrow All This Cash to Give to Wall Street, and Foreign Banks Too!
And, remember, the government doesn't have that kind of money lying around -- it'll all be borrowed cash, sending the deficit through the roof.
When Bush came into office, he had a budget surplus. Then he got us into a trillion-dollar war in Iraq and at the same time gave all these huge tax cuts to the same people who are most responsible for this mortgage mess. He was set to pass a half-trillion-dollar deficit to the next president -- now, it'll be even higher! If the bailout passes, our children will still be paying for it for decades to come.
And Paulson says he even wants to let foreign banks get their snouts into the trough as well. It's crazy!
This is certainly the greatest outrage yet, and we've got to stop it.
The following appeal from the Campaign for America's Future is a great way to add your say to the snowballing resistance to this attempt to steal hundreds of billions from the public purse.
Within the next 24 hours, we expect that Congress will make a historic choice to address America's financial crisis: Cut the Bush administration a $700 billion blank check for Wall Street, OR demand sensible public checks and balances in the $700 billion bailout. Write an emergency letter to Congress now, and tell them: No $700 billion blank check to the Bush administration for Wall Street.
In the next 24 hours, Congress could shape America's financial well-being for decades to come. Exploiting the financial crisis, the Bush administration is strong-arming Congress to give Wall Street $700,000,000,000 more of our taxpayer dollars -- with no strings attached and no say from us.
Write an emergency letter to Congress now, and tell them: No $700 billion blank check to the Bush administration for Wall Street!
Legislation could be on the floor of Congress within 24 hours. With the Bush administration stoking panic and pressuring Congress, citizens must speak up now to push back and demand common sense.
We need to fix this financial crisis, but giving $700 billion to Bush's Treasury secretary to spend as he wishes is over the top. The Bush administration is basically holding a gun to Congress' head and saying, "Give us the money immediately, or the banks will blow up the world economy."
If steps must be taken to keep the economy from failing, common sense must not be thrown out the window. Write Congress now and demand 3 basic principles to protect the public:
1. No Taxation Without Representation. If our tax dollars are going to buy bad assets from irresponsible bankers, the American people must get something for it. Equity in bailed-out firms. Strong regulation so this doesn't happen again. Stern public oversight. And, no golden parachutes for CEOs with our money.
2. No Help for Wall Street Without Help for Main Street. To truly get our economy back on track, we must aid the victims, not just the predators. Freeze foreclosures. Renegotiate bad mortgages. Create jobs generating clean energy and modernizing infrastructure. Prevent cuts in local police, health, road and school budgets. Extend unemployment insurance and food stamps.
3. No Insider Dealing. Wall Street can no longer be allowed to write its own laws. Legislators should refuse campaign money from Wall Street PACs or executives. We need a "time out" on contact between paid Wall Street lobbyists and elected officials while the crisis is addressed. Any congressional meetings with Wall Street officials must be immediately posted on a single Web site for complete transparency.
The next 24 hours will likely determine whether these commonsense solutions prevail, or whether the Bush administration gets $700 billion more of our money to do with as it pleases.
Write now and demand that Congress ensure sensible checks and balances when dealing with hundreds of billions of our taxpayer dollars. Write now and tell Congress: No $700 billion blank check to the Bush administration for Wall Street!