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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

www.NationalView.org's Note From a Madman

November 20, 2008


Our Money

I have $350 billion and it's burning a hole in my pocket. The remainder of the Wall Street financial bailout money was supposed to be geared towards saving the US financial industry. More importantly, it was passed to make sure those tens of thousands of jobs stay put.

The Bush administration, through the likes of Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, would like us to believe that the best use the balance of these middle-class taxpayer dollars is to just give it to the huge financial concerns who allowed this economy - the Bush Economy - to ruin many an American's life.

But that's just not so. The real reason that most of us bit our lower lip and said "Okay" to the Wall Street bailout was to save jobs. This nation couldn't afford to allow the tens of thousands of jobs which would have been lost had we let Wall Street go bankrupt. So we held our collective noses and gave Paulson permission to create the largest deficit this nation has ever seen.

What did Wall Street do to begin the cleanup process? They started shedding middle class American jobs and they refused to use what the $700 billion was earmarked for (loans to get the economy going again). In short, they betrayed us.

Did anybody expect anything different? We all hoped.

It was so bad that even Paulson, himself a servant of Big Finance, changed the rules of the money's use from the original proposed outlay (bringing credit lending back into the market) to what the Democrats and most fore-sighted persons thought was a better plan: To buy shares in these finance companies.

There was no renegotiating of loans; there was no concern about homes left vacant; and there is no concern over the US people as a whole.

There was, however, concern over CEO and Board members' bonuses.

It's obvious to anyone paying attention today that had we given Paulson the ability to give $700 billion to the financial industry without checks and oversight, he would have done just that. It's also obvious that Paulson, knowing that those checks are present, had to change his philosophy of just giving our hard-earned tax dollars away.

We don't want to bail out anyone. We don't want to take our already hefty trillion dollar debt and make it a multi-trillion dollar debt. However, on the other hand, we don't want our neighbors to lose their jobs, and we don't want to lose our jobs as well.

The argument I used myself that there will be tens of thousands of jobs lost if the financial industry goes under still holds, even as they shed many of those jobs under the outgoing administration's blind eye. The loss of jobs the US auto industry, and those industries which rely on the US auto industry, will be perhaps hundreds of times worse. Some have estimated that it could reach nearly ten million jobs lost.
absorb that.

There is a valid argument that we can't save all industries. But I believe we can, just not right now. Smart economic policies that look at the nation as a whole rather than from a top-down, Trickle-Down philosophy must be instituted. The realization that the middle class shouldn't be looked at as an endless source of rescue income must be brought forth and recognized as well.

If the US Auto industry were to have asked for $25 billion before the financial industry collapse, their bailout would have been easier to swallow. But that's not the case. The financial industry is still bleeding jobs and, as a result, we are not gaining a thing from their rescue.

The US Auto industry, due to the work of labor unions, have been making sure that the US auto worker has been receiving health care and retirement benefits. Now that same auto industry is pointing to those benefits as the reason they are going out of business unless they get the help, unconditionally. As they take private jets unabashedly from around the country to make their points to Congress, they're looking at the same route to saving their multi-million dollar salaries and bonuses: having us bail them out while forcing labor to cut jobs and benefits.

If the choice is only between their way of the highway (an unconditional bailout of the US auto industry, written by their CEO's and officers) or allowing them to close their doors, we'll have no choice but to allow them to do the latter. I say call their bluff.

As far as the balance of the $350 billion financial industry goes, the balance shouldn't be allocated until after President Obama is sworn in, and the $25 billion the auto manufacturers are requesting should come from there.

There are other ways the US auto makers could raise some money. They have cars, built and ready to go and could sell those cars at deep discounts. Additionally, they could offer up zero percent financing for extended periods of time to allow people the option of owning a new car a time when we really need someone to put their money back into the market.

In the end, the conditions placed upon the US auto industry have to be tight and regulatory in nature if the want our help. They have to use some of the money which they will no doubt receive from the American taxpayer and get ready to make cars that get better fuel mileage and that don't break down.

And they can't expect their workforce to be the only ones who have to make a sacrifice. Those who made the bad decisions at the top need to pay as well.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to the ol' GOP, Lew Warden writes:

Well, you’ve got this right – I tried to work with the stupid ideologues for 30 years – but so what? Who cares? They are history. Been dead from the neck up for generations. It just takes time for the body to decay and disappear. Bush was just a rank weed which took root in the rot. Use your forum for something constructive, if you really have anything to offer. If you don’t, I can recommend a number of excellent books which may stimulate your imagination, as well as engage your readers.

In response to, "George W. Bush helped do to the GOP what he did to the rest of the United States of America," Pat Thompson writes:

It is ironic that when George H. W Bush moved to Texas to be an "oilman" after World War II, he practically founded the Republican Party in Texas -- there just wasn't one. He worked very hard, doing the grassroots ground work door to door for many years. He of course was a Connecticut Yankee, Rockefeller Republican type. He believed in Planned Parenthood! And now his son has helped destroy that party. Interesting, the changes that can occur in one lifetime.

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-Noah Greenberg