Senate Bailout Bill: More Than Two Birds….
Do you feel like the Democratic Leadership is playing games AGAIN? Do any of us really trust our Congress; especially after this election cycle and the last month of watching the economic train wreck in slow motion?
I was wondering if all the little steps the Dem leadership has taken over the last 2-1/2 weeks were actually a planned movement by the corrupt Democratic leadership and now it appears it may true. Now whether the Dems learned this from the Obama campaign or the other way around is for somebody else to track the timeline on.
We (the American public not inside the beltway) know that the economy has been tanking for quite some time, and smart Americans having been preparing for this moment in history. What we did not realize to it’s fullest extent is how much the Democratic Leadership is willing to send us (the Collective American Public) out into the snows just to further their own agendas; and probably using the Vice-Presidential Debate as a diversionary tactic so we allow this newest earmark laden bill to be passed in the midnight hour similar to the Patriotic Act. I am hoping the true patriots among the Senate will vote this bill down and after you read more, you will be joining in.
As my readers know, the economy is my pet issue and I have been writing about it, the meltdown, and impending financial storm for quite some time; and wondering when our leaders were going to stop letting the mortgage/foreclosure crisis drag this country and the world into a depression. Senator Clinton was speaking about these issues as far back as August 2007, yet the DNC and Obama let it ride until September 24-25 when they concocted the whole lie about having the deal set so as to embarrass John McCain and the Republican party. We all know that Rep. Boehner and Sen. McCain said no go on the original Dem/Paulson plan because of the lack of oversight and the Acorn provision. I personally believe that the 3 page plan was set to go down in defeat, as was the “new deal” that failed on the 29th in the House. Pelosi said that the votes were there, then came out and bashed the Republican Party and the Bush Administration; almost assuredly sabotaging the vote, setting up the Republican Party to be blamed and John McCain’s political campaign to suffer by association, AND setting up the American people and Congress to vote for WHATEVER BILL was put forward today. Sounds just as fishy as the early voting in Ohio.
David Sirota of In These Times has a great article about the $700 Billion Questions in regards to the 1st package that went to the floor and was defeated on Monday, the 29th.
1) What will prevent the bill from allowing both parties to use the guise of purchasing worthless mortgages to further enrich their largest campaign donors?
Other than a top-line limit of $700 billion, the White House proposal includes not a single reference to how much taxpayers can be forced to pay private investment firms for their worthless mortgages. To the untrained eye, the omission may seem like a minor oversight, but it is almost certainly deliberate not just as a power grab, but in its potential to convert the Treasury Department into a Tammany Hall graft machine with international reach.
Since the deregulatory splurge of the 1990s began, the financial industry has donated almost $600 million to both parties—splitting their donations almost 50-50. That includes an astounding $9.8 million to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, and $6.8 million to Republican nominee John McCain. On top of that is another $500 million dollars in lobbying expenditures in the last decade.
Thanks to the proposal’s omissions, those expenditures could generate a $700 billion return on worthless mortgage investments—well above the 100-to-1 ratio of return on investment that lobbying expenditures typically reap corporate clients in Washington. Alas, in the Halliburton age, such government-corporate profiteering would be anything but rare.
2) How are Americans and investors supposed to feel confident that the crisis will be solved, if the very people who engineered the crisis are being relied on to solve it?
According to Mother Jones, McCain’s campaign is run by at least 83 staffers who have recently lobbied for the financial industry. Their clients included AIG, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Citigroup, i.e.. all the major corporations that caused the financial implosion, and who stand to gain from the bailout.
Likewise, McCain’s economic guru is Phil “nation of whiners” Gramm. He is the vice-chairman of the investment bank UBS, which according to the Politico.com wrote down “more than $18 billion in exposure to subprime loans and other risky securities and is considering cutting as many as 8,000 jobs.” As a Texas senator, Gramm spearheaded Congress’s radical deregulatory agenda in the 1990s, including authoring the bill repealing the Glass-Steagall Act (i.e., the Depression-era law preventing consolidation that many experts say could have prevented, or at least softened, the current emergency).
Obama, meanwhile, has long relied on Gramm’s boss, UBS chairman Robert Wolf, as one of his top economic advisers and fundraisers. Worse, during his emergency meeting to discuss the crisis last week, five of the nine people he said would be directing his response have played a role in the crisis they claim expertise in fixing. They are:
** Former Clinton Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin (now an executive at Citigroup, which is embroiled in the meltdown) and Lawrence Summers, who the Politico notes both “supported and helped negotiate the bill [repealing Glass-Steagall].”
** William Daley, the Clinton administration architect of corporate-friendly trade pacts like NAFTA and now a top official at J.P. Morgan Chase.
** Gene Sperling, the top economic adviser in the Clinton White House that deregulated Wall Street.
** Paul O’Neill, the former Bush Treasury Secretary, who despite occasionally criticizing the White House, is a lockstep conservative on economics.
Other than Joseph Stiglitz, Obama included not a single progressive, nor even one of the many visionaries like economist Dean Baker, who has for years been predicting exactly this kind of meltdown. Indeed, the one major labor-affiliated economist officially affiliated with his campaign, Jared Bernstein, “was not part of the crisis meeting,” according to the Washington Post.
3) How is this meltdown a failure of “oversight” if it has almost nothing to do with illegality?
Most politicians and pundits are bewailing the lack of “oversight” that allegedly led us to the brink of disaster. The rhetoric suggests that the real perpetrators were negligent regulators failing to enforce—or “overseeing”—existing laws. And while there’s certainly a bit of that, CBS’s Bob Schieffer said it best when he reported that, “This is not the work of those who broke the law, it is the work of those operating within the law—those who pushed the law to the limit, making loans the law allowed but common sense dictated should not have been made.”
4) When did a crisis suddenly mean that giving away taxpayer cash to campaign donors is laudably apolitical, but spending taxpayer money on taxpayers is inappropriately “political?”
During initial meetings with Congress about the bailout, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson rejected “calls to include tighter regulations, corporate reforms or limits on executive compensation as part of the measure,” according to the Associated Press. He also stated his opposition to using a fraction of the money to help homeowners struggling with their bills, shore up the social safety net, or stimulate job growth through public infrastructure spending.
So, handing over $700 billion of taxpayer money to Wall Street speculators with no conditions whatsoever is now so supposedly apolitical that reporters and politicians take offense at any suggestion otherwise. Meanwhile, proposing to better regulate Wall Street or help ordinary citizens in exchange for that bailout is an unacceptably partisan “political agenda” inappropriate at a time of “crisis in our country”—as if the wage, housing, and health care crisis afflicting workers, homeowners and families is far less critical to the national welfare than the crisis hitting millionaire speculators.
5) How are we going to pay for this?
In the Bush age of unending deficits, even considering affordability strikes some as silly and old fashioned. But we’re talking about adding $700 billion to the national debt—or $2,000 for every man, woman and child in America. Moreover, if, as bailout proponents say, the ultimate goal of a bank rescue is to keep the credit markets liquid and interest rates under control, then adding $700 billion to the interest-rate-exacerbating national debt seems an odd economic analgesic, to say the least. This is to say nothing about the insanity of responding to what is inherently a debt crisis by simply firing up the national credit card and incurring more debt.
To date, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is the only lawmaker who has laid out a specific plan to both re-regulate the financial markets and responsibly finance a bailout. He proposes to impose a 10 percent surtax on those making over $500,000 a year, raising roughly $300 billion. “The people who can best afford to pay and the people who have benefited most from Bush’s economic policies are the people who should provide the funds for the bailout,” he said.
Mr. Sirota’s questions and answers are right on the money, but now we are looking at the “real deal” that is more than likely going to be passed in just a few hours because the “lie” did not go thru, the bailout bill was defeated in the House, and the pressure to get our leaders to do something has created the Senate Bill.
From Hot Air:
The Senate will begin debate within minutes on their attempt to revive the bailout bill rejected by the House. They have released the bill text this morning, and the Senate Conservatives Fund website has it for public perusal. The new version has no allocations going to the Housing Trust Fund, which the Dodd version originally did, so ACORN will get no money from the bailout.
However, the Senate did add a few winners to this new version:
New Tax earmarks in Bailout bill
– Film and Television Productions (Sec. 502)
– Wooden Arrows designed for use by children (Sec. 503)
– 6 page package of earmarks for litigants in the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident, Alaska (Sec. 504)
Tax earmark “extenders” in the bailout bill.
– Virgin Island and Puerto Rican Rum (Section 308)
– American Samoa (Sec. 309)
– Mine Rescue Teams (Sec. 310)
– Mine Safety Equipment (Sec. 311)
– Domestic Production Activities in Puerto Rico (Sec. 312)
– Indian Tribes (Sec. 314, 315)
– Railroads (Sec. 316)
– Auto Racing Tracks (317)
– District of Columbia (Sec. 322)
– Wool Research (Sec. 325)
Please be advised that I will be sitting down with this bill because I think that we have been led down the garden path (again) with all of these “bailout packages” destined to only end up getting bled even worse by our elected officials because we have been resisting being mugged for 1.8 Trillion dollars. Stop a moment and think about spending your hard earned cash on something that is already broken and useless. Buying bad paper from Wall Street Banks is MORONIC. I am all for loaning the money with warrants to make sure these debts are taken care of; but not for just granting 1.8 trillion to the same financial institutions that created this hurricane.
I believe that everything that Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank and the rest of the Democratic Leadership has done in the last two weeks was planned to bring us to this 451 PAGE PORK LADEN BILL. Remember, 3 pages to 161 pages to 451 pages. With this bill they get more than 2 birds with one stone.
Time to investigate and protect ourselves from our elected officials. I suggest you start contacting your representatives so they remember who they work for, and what they are actually voting on.
No New Spending.
Go here if you would like to see a US map of the Senate roll call vote for this bill.
It is the morning of 10/2/08 and the Dow is down 290 points right now. That Rescue Bill that was shoved through the Senate has really engendered confidence in the European and American Markets. Woo-Hoo!