Monday, September 22, 2008

Just Say No to Corporate Bailouts

The world financial markets were rocked to their foundation this week by the news of the collapse of one of the oldest Wall Street Investment firms in American history, preceded by two of the largest bailouts in American history. If that was not news enough, the market was then knocked around again in round two when American Insurance Group (AIG) was given a 24 hours notice to raise $85 billion dollars to cover debt tied to the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Once again the federal treasury decided to bail out another corporation in the name of the American people and the stability of the marketplace. Then the mother of all bailouts was announced just before the close of business Thursday when Secretary of the Treasury announced a $700 billion dollar bailout of all remaining investment firms, banks and insurance groups. President Bush proudly proclaimed that the American people had been saved by the quick thinking and decisive actions of the US Treasury and anticipated quick passage of the trillion-dollar bailout by the House and Senate this week.

The reality of the situation is that the American taxpayers are being held responsible for the irresponsible investment decisions and speculative actions of private corporations and private investors. When the economy was booming and Wall Street was raking in record profits on fraudulent business dealings taxpayers saw none of the benefits, but when it is time to save those same corporations and their investors from the brink of irrelevance then the taxpayers are expected to foot the bill. The end result is that the investors reap all of the profits when times are good but when times are bad the American taxpayers pay the bills. This time the price tag is too high. In addition to the $650 billion dollars the federal treasury is paying annually for the defense budget plus the costs of the war in Iraq, the general public is now expected to foot a trillion dollar bill based on speculation.

Americans do not understand what the cost of the proposed bailout is in real terms, and many Americans do not realize the amount of debt that the federal government has already accrued, which is a burden to be passed on to our future generations. In real dollars, the proposal by the treasury department will cost the average taxpayer five thousand dollars and ten thousands dollars for a household of four. That is ten thousand dollars of debt that President Bush and his cabinet will leave as a legacy to compete with the shared cost of the war in Iraq, which will cost the average household nearly an additional ten thousand dollars in debt. That is a total of twenty thousand dollars in debt per household multiplied by millions of Americans equals nearly two trillion dollars that we are deeper in debt as a result of the war in Iraq and the recent proposed bailout which will in all likelihood sail through Congress this week.

It is time to say no to more corporate bailouts. The United States is already almost nine trillion dollars in debt as a result of decades of over spending on the US military combined with twenty-five years of Reagan era tax cuts for the wealthy and private corporations. Now is the time to invest in real priorities for the future by fully funding health care and education. By saying no to corporate bailouts for Wall Street we will ensure real economic opportunity for Main Street. As a candidate for federal office I oppose further corporate bailouts and I support strict regulation of Wall Street and a federal investigation into fraud and abuse of the trading system, which led to the current financial crisis. The results of decades deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy and privileged has led to the decimation of the middle class and brought us to the edge of ruin for future generations.

There is hope for the future, and it involves electing candidates who will look out for the interest of working people and the middle class, rather than selling out every federal office to the highest bidder. By supporting campaign finance reform, progressive taxation, universal health care, a drastically reduced military budget and by placing the highest priority on funding education we can begin to move this country in the right direction. Through strict regulation of markets and a tough but conservative approach to finance and investment we can begin to regain the trust of both investors and the general public. By withdrawing our troops from the Middle East and reducing the military budget we will gain the trust and good faith of people around the world. It is time for us to invest in the people and we must begin by saying to to any further bailouts for private corporations and Wall Street and insure that our tax dollars go to real human needs and domestic priorities that benefit everyone

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