Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bailout: What's next

According to George Stephanopolous, Congress isn't trying to craft a new plan after defeating the bailout today. Rather, the plan seems to be to twist arms and exert political pressure to pass the same plan, or just dress it up in different clothes and hope that the American people don't notice.

Option 1 is to guilt members of the House into voting for the bailout bill when the markets open and start tanking tomorrow. Think Wall Street operatives might make the market tank in order to get a handout from Congress?

Option 2 is to let the Senate pass the bailout first. If the Senate passes the bailout, then pressure is brought to bear on House members to take action on the bailout. If it looks like garbage and smells like garbage, then it is garbage. Don't tell the American people that the putrid stench we smell is actually filet mignon.

Option 3 is to make a few changes to the bill to get enough votes to pass it. I like to call this the "Lipstick on a Pig" option.

Option 4 is to get support for the bailout from more Democrats. So it goes, you'd get the $700 billion plus economic stimulus, plus home heating oil and food stamp assistance, plus infrastructure investments and unemployment insurance spending. In reality, this sounds like a Republican strategy to pin the largest spending bill in history on Democrats, ensuring no affordable, quality, universal health care, no action on climate change, and no spending on programs that actually benefit people under a potential Obama Administration, so that they, the Republicans can continue to make a case for "drowning government in a bathtub."

None of these options that Stephanopolous is reporting are acceptable.

I'm with David Sirota.
Anyone who thinks we should pass the $700 billion bailout bill as is needs to answer a simple question: How does handing over $700 billion to Wall Street help the economy any more than, say, handing over $700 billion to homeowners, or spending $700 billion on a New Deal-style full employment program? In fact, you have to answer an even simpler question: How is handing over $700 billion to Wall Street a BETTER way to save the economy than helping homeowners or investing in the economy? Or how about substantively answering why you think giving $700 billion to Wall Street will help solve this problem, rather than make it worse - and by "substantively," I don't mean simply saying that some other "expert" said it would save the economy, I mean actually making a substantive, logical argument.


I'd say being able to answer basic questions should be a prerequisite for spending 5% of our economy.

Contact your member of Congress and ask them to go back to the drawing board and pass a plan that includes re-regulation, New Deal style economic stimulus, bankruptcy reform, homeowner aid and a speculators' tax.

Continue to bombard your members of Congress with calls and letters. Make them answer the question, especially if they voted yes today.

If this truly is the crisis that we're being told it is, then the Bush Administration owes us answers. Members of Congress who are being briefed on the crisis need to give us answers. They work for us.

Memo to Congress: Don't approach us with a plan hatched over a few days, tell us the sky is falling, and then expect us to engage in an unprecedented corporate giveaway. We're not going to take it.

If these problems are as dire as we're told they are, then they require a well-thought out response.

To our readers: Continue to bombard your members of Congress with calls and letters. Make them answer the question, especially if they voted yes today, and demand accountability, transparency and an end to corporate greed that even Gordon Gecko couldn't have conceived.


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