The Great $700 Billion Bailout
Feeding the Hand That Bit Us
Today’s headlines and news cycle are dominated by the $700 billion bailout proposal for Wall Street — with taxpayer money. Make no mistake, this meltdown is genuinely serious and threatens a complete collapse of the U.S. economy without massive government intervention. But the question is, should the bailout, as the Bush Administration and others demand, be given without strings attached?
Yet media focuses its coverage narrowly on the urgency of rescuing Wall Street, reducing the questions of accountability and benefits for homeowners and other taxpayers to a perfunctory nuisance sidebar. In fact, corporate media is covering the consumer side of this bailout as if insisting on public accountability would be a threat to national survival.
Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson are demanding a blank check with no strings attached. $700 billion for the Wall Street crooks who recklessly spawned this near catastrophe, while taxpayers are essentially told they can “eat cake.” Worse, Bush is pulling out the same scare playbook that he used after 9/11 and in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq: Do as I say, ask no questions, and with no strings attached, or you will be blamed for the destruction of America. On both occasions, Congress caved.
Time will tell — and quickly — what Congress will do for this economic 9.11, caused by the very corporate predators and gutless politicians insisting on taxpayers footing the bill. But progressives and independent voters should not wait on Congress where both Democrats and Republicans drank the “deregulation” Kool-Aid.
This cabal of irresponsible politicians and predatory corporate executives want a taxpayer bailout without a public ownership stake in the companies they bailout, without a cap on the outrageously greedy executive compensation, without protection against massive foreclosures and homeownership loss — without any benefits for Main Street.
We should be loud and quick to let Congress — and the media, the equally irresponsible enablers of this failure of public trust — know what we want from this seismic shift of taxpayer dollars as millions of people are losing their jobs and homes. If there were ever a time for the American people to stand up for their own interests, it’s now. If voters don’t make their voices heard and protest the grand theft about to take place in Washington, the next eight years may very well be like the Great Depression.
The Nader Team