The Money Party (7):
Just Say No
(Wash. DC) We’re being blackmailed into accepting the responsibility and debt for the worst managed financial institutions in the history of this country. The starting price, our debt, is $700 billion dollars.
What’s really about to happen is that the failed financial institutions will be rewarded for their bad behavior. As a result, they and others will be encouraged to do it again. It’s just a matter of time.
We’re under the gun and told that we have just days to make a decision to bailout these mismanaged entities. The last thing they want is an open hearing on the problem. Deliberation is deadly for them.
We’re told that our world will collapse; there will be a systemic breakdown if the president’s bailout legislation is not passed. Without it, we’ll all be eating stale beans and rice for the rest of our lives.
How do you argue with a premise like that – vote yes and you get a chance to live. Vote no and you’ll be soon living in a cold house or damp shelter, if you’re lucky enough to be off the street.
This is the same type of argument that was used to pass the Patriot Act after 9/11. It had to be passed right away. The vulnerability to attack was blamed on the Constitution. We were asked to forget the president’s disregard for the many warnings of just such an attack. The people paid for that egregious error through the loss of constitutional rights.
Now we’re told that to avoid economic ruin and all that portends, we must give up common sense, evaluation, and deliberation and allow more debt to be piled on our backs.
The largest financial institutions have made very bad decisions. They bought into schemes that were senseless. Subprime loans sold as premium securities and the looming credit derivatives melt down — 50 times larger than the subprime problem — are obvious losers just on the face of it.
How can grouping subprime loans create a stock that’s anything other than subprime? What kind of institutional investor would bet your retirement on a subprime investment?
Why would anyone other than a very experienced financial expert get into anything as complex as credit derivatives? Because the commissions on sales were huge. For buyers, the short cut to profits was too good to resist.
So what are we supposed to do? Give $700 billion to these companies to keep them afloat. While those who marketed these flawed products bear some responsibility, the responsibility and blame grow as you move up the management chain to the top. They all knew what was going on. They ignored the certain risk and failure of these schemes for their personal benefit.
The culprit financial products, subprimes securities and derivatives, were bought and sold by many in the financial industry, including the firm formerly headed up by the Secretary of the Treasury. Why should we trust any of them to decide who gets bailout money or how the firms receiving it are managed?
The debate in Congress is shaping up to be one over style rather than substance. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that some sort of bailout bill needs to happen. But the Democrats want oversight and monitoring, as if that will change a single thing. The Republicans want centralized control by one person, the Secretary of the Treasury, with no review of who gets how much corporate welfare.
Here’s a message for the grossly irresponsible politicians, regulators, and financial firms.
Don’t tell us you’re going to do it right this time when you’re the people who got us into this mess.
Don’t tell us you that your interests are the same as ours. You haven’t been able to have just one vote to eliminate the loophole that allows oil speculation responsible for high gas and home heating oil prices. Why should we trust you now?
Don’t tell us that we can’t survive without these decadent financial entities.
This bailout makes no sense. Listen to people with alternatives to financial blackmail. Find solutions that impose a minimum of harm to the innocent and that create opportunities for all citizens. Talk to some smart small business owners, union people, and a variety of citizens. Deliberate in the open with all assumptions on the table.
Who will stand up for the people and say, let the failed firms bail themselves out or let them do what every citizen does in this situation, declare bankruptcy.
Why is it that the greater your failure, the greater your chances are for a debt canceling rescue? The vast majority of citizens aren’t getting that option.
This is the first of many bailouts to come. The time to say no is right now. No bailouts. No socialism for the rich with survival of the fittest for the rest of us. And stop pretending you’re doing something by arguing about details when you’re doing nothing more than rewarding failure while you set us up for the next take down.
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