George Bush, Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke came to Congress last weekend with a request for a $700 billion blank check to bail out Wall Street. Thankfully, our allies in Congress are pushing back against this dangerous and ill-conceived bill.
Our nation is facing a real financial crisis, brought on by seven years of Bush-McCain financial policies, that calls for action that is thoughtful and swift—but not hasty. The actions we take at this perilous time must set the stage for a real recovery that benefits Main Street as well as Wall Street.
The last thing we should do is compound the enormous imbalances in our economy with an enormously imbalanced rescue package. To accomplish this, any bailout must:
Be governed by an independent board with transparency and effective public and congressional oversight.
Use the full array of financial and legal tools available to the government to stop foreclosures and restructure home mortgage loans for working families.
Address the cause of the crisis on Main Street in addition to the symptoms on Wall Street. Congress should pass a second stimulus package in its entirety.
Work to address the disastrous weaknesses in our financial regulatory system and corporate governance system that allowed this disaster to happen.
The current Bush-Paulson-Bernanke proposal does nothing for families facing foreclosure or for working people hit hard by the economy, and it does nothing to hold those who caused this crisis accountable. Meanwhile, it grants unlimited authority to the Bush administration to spend $700 billion of the public’s money to prop up whomever they wish on Wall Street, without any rules or independent oversight.
This is not acceptable.
The stakes are enormous. If this plan ends up squandering hundreds of billions of dollars of the public’s money, the damage will not be limited to the financial system. As a nation, we must address the health care crisis, the infrastructure crisis, the energy and environmental crisis and the jobs crisis. Our future and our children’s future depend on focusing our nation on these challenges in the real economy.