Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bailout blues

I called both my Senators and Congressman today. I let them know my opposition to the bailout plans and desire for equity, mortgage relief, oversight and a much smaller bailout such as the $125 billion that Senator Chuck Schumer proposed. I didn't manage to fit in my belief that any Democrat who votes for this will face a challenge in the next primary as I was trying to remain polite and civil. I did manage to get compensation caps into the conversation though.

I recommend you use the Senate web site to find your Senator's phone numbers and call them. Your representative can be found at the house web site. Here are some talking points and some of the details of the bailout.

Why do we need Congress to take the time to get this right? Because according to Forbes, the Treasury Department admits the $700 billion price tag is "not based on any particular data point. We just wanted to choose a really large number."1

Our phone calls are working. The New York Times reports on members of Congress across the political spectrum hearing from constituents angry about the bailout:

The backlash, in phone calls as well as e-mail messages, is putting lawmakers in a quandary as they weigh what many regard as the most consequential decision of their careers: whether to agree to President Bush's request to spend an estimated $700 billion in taxpayer money to rescue the financial services system.

Around the country, Republican and Democratic voters are rising up in outright opposition to the White House plan or, at the very least, to express concern that it is being pushed through Congress in haste.2
Last weekend, Barack Obama helped define what it would mean to put Main Street before Wall Street:

* No blank check. We must insist on independent accountability and oversight.

* Invest in the real economy to avoid recession. We need an emergency economic plan to help working families—a plan that would help folks cope with rising gas and food prices, create infrastructure jobs, etc.

* Help homeowners stay in their homes. We cannot have a plan for Wall Street banks that does not help homeowners stay in their homes and help distressed communities.

* Taxpayers should be protected. This should not be a handout to Wall Street.

* Rescue requires mutual responsibility. Institutions that benefit from taxpayer help must help protect American homeowners and the American economy. We cannot underwrite continued irresponsibility.

* Build a regulatory structure for the 21st Century. We should commit ourselves to new rules of the road for the 21st Century economy.

* A global response. The United States must lead, but we must also insist that other nations, who have a huge stake in the outcome, join us in helping to secure the financial markets.3

Last night's prime time address by President Bush was intended to force Congress to approve his bailout deal for Wall Street without helping Main Street. To keep Congress from caving, we must keep the public pressure up today.

Please if you are reading this, take action and make some phone calls. Heck I called my Congressman twice since I read the deal was almost made. This is freaking me out and I need to say something.

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