I have become increasingly cynical about politics over the last few weeks. Our government is asking us to foot the bill for a huge bailout of campiagn-financing big businesses who mismanaged money? I find this ridiculous. Mark and I have been watching the story unravel with so much frustration. Today a website called opensecrets.org revealed that the four congressmen deciding the fate of this bailout have received millions of dollars in contributions from the companies they are going to save (with YOUR taxpayer money). Don’t even get me started on how that money could be better spent. Mark was so annoyed that he decided to call our congressman.
Well. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I did have to put my cynical little self in check. I was so pleased that he took the time to talk to us. Even if he had disagreed, I would have been encouraged. I just couldn’t believe it took one phone call to allow us to air our grievances to someone who actually had a say in the whole thing. And especially that he took our call after-hours on a crazy day in the middle of a huge congressional stand-off.
Frankly, I’m disappointed and disgusted with my own Republican party as I watch them attempt to strong-arm a bailout of some of America’s biggest corporations by asking the taxpayers to suck up the staggering results of the hubris, greed, and arrogance of those who sought to make a quick buck by throwing the dice. They lost, but want the rest of us to cover their bets so they won’t be effected in their lavish lifestyles as they figure out how to spend their tens of millions and in some cases, hundreds of millions in bonuses and compensation which was their reward for not only sinking their companies, but basically doing the same to the entire American economy.
It’s especially disconcerting to see the very people who pilloried me during the Presidential campaign for being a “populist” and not “understanding Wall Street” to now line up like thirsty dogs at the Washington, D. C. water dish, otherwise known as Congress, and plead for help. I thought these guys were the smartest people in America! I thought that taxpayers like you and I were similar to the people at the U. N. who have no translator speaking into their headset – that we just needed to trust those that I called the power bunch in the “Wall Street to Washington axis of power.”
The idea of a government bailout in which we’d entrust $700 billion to one man without Congressional oversight or accountability is absurd. My party or not, that is insanity and I believe unconstitutional.
Will there be far-reaching consequences without some intervention? Probably, but we honestly don’t know since we’ve really never seen this level of greed and stupidity all rolled into one massive move. But may I suggest that letting “Uncle Sugar” step in and bail out the billionaires who made the mess will be far worse and will start a long line of companies and individuals who will demand the same of the government—which last time I checked means that they will be demanding it out of YOU and ME. This is not money that Congress is risking from THEIR pockets or future, but ours. Many if not most of us have already experienced lost value on our homes, retirement accounts, and pensions. Now they’d like for us to assume some further risks so they won’t have to.
What happened to the “free market” idea? Is that only our view when we WIN and when we LOSE, we ask the government to come in and take away the pain?
If you are a small business owner, is this the way it works at your place? When you have a bad month, a bad year, or face having to close, can you go up to Congress and get them to write YOU a fat check to take away your risk?
Some of what contributed to this disaster is too much government in the form of Sarbanes/Oxley. Some is due to the tax structure that created the hunger for companies to “game” the system. Some is the common sense that was ignored like loaning money to people who can’t pay it back.
Wall Street has become Las Vegas east, but at least in Vegas, people KNOW they are gambling and they don’t expect the government to cover their losses at the tables. In Wall Street, they do. And the American taxpayer burdens the responsibility.
If Congress wants to do something, here are some suggestions:
1. Eliminate ALL capital gains taxes and taxes on savings and dividends right now. Free up the capital and encourage investment. This is the kind of economic stimulus the Fair Tax would bring and if Congress is going to lose money, let them lose it with lower taxes, not with public dollar bailouts of private market mistakes.
2. Repeal Sarbanes/Oxley. It has failed. It was supposed to prevent this. It didn’t. Kill it.
3. Demand that the executives who steered their ships into the ground be forced to pay back the losses of their companies. Of course, they can’t, so let them work and give back to the government and they can live like the people they put on the streets or kept there. It makes no sense to put them in jail—that’s just more they will cost you and me. I’d rather them go out and earn money—just not get to keep so much of it this time. I’m not talking about limiting CEO salaries—just those of the people who now are up in Washington begging for help because they ruined their companies.
Attempts by Democrats and Republicans to blame each other is nonsense. They are both guilty and ought to own up and admit it. They all lived off big campaign contributions and the swill of the lobbyists who strong armed them into permission to steal. Enough of blame. Fix it!
This would be a start. If we don’t hold these guys responsible, we are all finished!