Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another Welfare Handout for Wall Street Tycoons

We've had almost a week of these hysterical cries of “Wolf!” and “Emergency!” After awhile those initial panic reactions of “Oh My God! What will we do?!?!?” start giving way to more rational analysis.

After all, if you're trapped inside a burning building, your first priority is to get out alive. It’s only afterward that you start thinking “OK, who started the fire? Who was in charge? How did this happen?”

As of this writing, another “tentative” bailout agreement has been reached but not yet finalized by Congress. But whatever package we ultimately get — We The People need to make some serious changes.

Ever since the early ‘80s we've been letting the largest corporations do exactly what they want, when they want. And when they lose money, the taxpayers happily bail them out, so these companies can go and do the same thing again and again.

Sure, let’s allow these corporations to “police themselves” and trust that they’ll do what's right. As conservatives would say, “they want rights but no responsibilities.” How’s this been working out for us?

There's a theory that if Franklin Roosevelt (or somebody with similar views) hadn’t gotten elected president in 1932, there would have been a violent populist revolution in this country. And I think that’s the stage we’re in right now. People are pissed!

The streets of New York have been full of furious protesters. (Links here and here.) This anger isn't going away.

This column has some good ideas (plus it’s a good rant). The author, Adam Benforado, refers to the environmental cleanup law known as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. You probably know it as the Superfund.

Under this law, cleanup of toxic waste had to be paid for by the corporations that had dumped it in the first place. It didn’t matter that these companies didn’t “intend” to poison anybody when they dumped their toxic chemicals. And it didn’t matter whether these companies violated any current laws at the time they did their dumping.

What mattered was: their willful actions caused billions of dollars worth of pollution and health hazards. And a lot of these companies had the means to pay for cleaning up their own shit.

Same goes for the Wall Street robber barons. As the title of the column says: “Take the banker’s Porsche.” Let’s see some heads roll.

Kenneth Lay faked his own death so he could weasel out of paying the price for his multi-billion dollar robbery. Let’s see how many Wall Street CEOs will have a fake heart attack, followed by a closed-casket “funeral” with no reporters allowed.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Blogger Lew Scannon said...

You have to figure that if John McCain has seven house, and Ken Lay had seventeen, these guys have to have at least ten houses. They should sell them, (or at least try in this market) even at a loss to bail out Wall Street. Everybody else shouldn't pay a frickin' dime.

September 28, 2008 at 6:44 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lew: It's just unreal that people who are already struggling, and had nothing to do with this mess, will be paying much higher taxes to support the culprits, who are keeping their yachts and vacation homes.

September 28, 2008 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger American Hill BIlly said...

We all need to get out, talk to people, try to inform them, and we all need to be peaceful protestants in some regard.

This is in your face robbery; by the same people who have continually done it. Absolutely absord.

United In Peace And Freedom

September 28, 2008 at 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the fix is in. How else to explain all the recent comments by Treasury officials that the Dow would drop 4000 without the bailout.

They're trying to initiate a panic. All the better to allow institutional investors to jump back in after another 15% across the board downturn in the market.

September 28, 2008 at 10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that if you could put together sufficient proof to convict the trustees, CEO's and high-level executives responsible in court, their penalty should begin with having their money and other assets confiscated, leaving them a few thousand with which to start over. But, not start over in the financial industry as a trustee, CEO or high-level executive; that would be outlawed.

I'm thinking they instead could sell shoes at the mall, a la Al Bundy, or some such.

And their former wealth? Auction it off to help defray the expense of dealing with their mess and help some of the people hurt by their selfish stupidity.

September 28, 2008 at 11:25 PM  
Blogger LET'S TALK said...

I cannot believe that America is with this bailout.

We have a government that do not understand how to manage the loan security and the same people that put us in this mess will have to be hired to run this so called Mortgage Back Security.

Bush looked the other way as this went on and just like Iraq, this is urgent.

How many times must we and the 535 House and Senate members be fooled?

September 28, 2008 at 11:55 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

AHB: Yup, we've been robbed. It'll remain to be seen what we're gonna do about it.

Kvatch: I don't know enough about economics or finances to know for sure, but it does seem like they were trying to cause a panic.

SW: That sounds like a plan. After all, that's what they do with people convicted of drug crimes, and those are mostly victimless crimes. These robber barons should definitely be stripped of all (or most of) their assets if they get convicted. It would do 'em good to play the Al Bundy role for awhile.

Let's Talk: Yup, the whole thing is pretty disgraceful. Socialism in reverse. Hardworking taxpayers spending some of their tax money supporting the millionaires who caused this whole mess. I don't know what you'd call this system, but I sure don't like it.

September 29, 2008 at 12:18 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

"Let’s see how many Wall Street CEOs will have a fake heart attack, followed by a closed-casket “funeral” with no reporters allowed."

And then they will probably all be found later lying on some sunny Caribbean beach somewhere living off of their stolen millions.

The P-I article is great. "You break it, you bought it" should NOT apply only to customers.

September 29, 2008 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: There'll probably be a lot more secret villas popping up all over the Caribbean and the South Pacific, as more and more corporate thieves decide to take the money and run.

I don't know what to hope for with this bailout bill. As I'm writing this comment, the bill just got defeated in Congress. But I doubt if anyone in Congress is going anywhere until some kind of package gets passed.

I certainly don't want a 1929-style crash, but I can't stand the thought of giving hundreds of billions of dollars to the powerbrokers who caused this whole thing. We're living in interesting times.

September 29, 2008 at 11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bailout didn't go. This is going to get really ugly. Wachovia is dead, National City is flatlining as I write this.

I'd recommend a safe haven for your money, if such a thing existed.

September 29, 2008 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger Miss Kitty said...

Excellent post, Tom. So much for "welfare Mamas" and hello to corporate welfare. The latter's budget has LONG been many times larger than the former.

September 29, 2008 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

JR: You're right, this isn't gonna be pretty. Like I was saying earlier, I don't want a 1930s style depression any more than anybody else; and yet I can't stand the idea of taxpayers giving away hundreds of billions of dollars to help Wall Street CEOs with their yacht payments. This whole thing really sucks no matter what Congress does.

Miss Kitty: Thanks. Remember now, it's only welfare if the money goes to people who need it. When the money flows upward from the taxpayers to corporate executives, it's free enterprise. Or Dumbyanomics, or something.

September 29, 2008 at 2:47 PM  
Blogger Enemy of the Republic said...

I just blogged on the same topic. SO PISSED! You read my mind. No wonder I love your blog!

September 29, 2008 at 2:49 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Enemy: Cool. I'll check out your post. I'm glad we're on the same wavelength.

September 29, 2008 at 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a theory that if Franklin Roosevelt (or somebody with similar views) hadn’t gotten elected president in 1932, there would have been a violent populist revolution in this country.

Very Good point Tom and one that is overlooked by popular History. There are (were) two types of elites: those who think they can get away with as much as they can those who realize you better give up some to the masses once in a while or they will torch your mansion down.

FDR realized that Russia was only overthrown 20 years ago and that there was a major revolution in Germany that gave us the Nazi's. It was only a matter of time before it happened here.

History shows us you can only screw the masses so much before they revolt and the Republicans just didn't get it (like today).

In the end he imposed regulations and social programs that created the middle class, made us the richest nation in the world, made a lot of industry rich and made a permanent enemy of the super rich.

Even Welfare is seen as numbing the masses so they don't revolt.

We are in trouble and the next president is going to wish he never won.


September 29, 2008 at 5:32 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: You're right, Republicans seem to fall into that second category of elitists. They keep thinking they don't have to give any slack to those wretched peons out there because they're just a bunch of powerless riffraff.

And they keep overplaying their hand. They did that during Clinton's presidency, when Gingrich resigned (and so did his successor). And hopefully they've overplayed their hand this time too. We need a break from them.

Republicans just won't admit -- or they hope we won't figure out -- that a middle class doesn't just pop up out of nowhere. When the "market forces" are left totally unregulated, you get a third world society where 1% of the population is wealthy beyond imagination, and the other 99% is dirt poor.

September 29, 2008 at 6:34 PM  
Blogger Mile High Pixie said...

Front page of the Denver Post today had a quote from McCain saying that Barack and the Dems were playing politics with the American people's money. Strange, though, that if you read the first few paragraphs of the article on the front page, it mentioned that more Dems than GOPers voted for the bailout, and even the fors and againsts from Colorado were mixed, and Barack had even voted for it.

Way to play politics, McSame. Way to distract and scare everyone. Oh, wait, that's what the GOP does these days, never mind.

September 30, 2008 at 6:37 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

MHP: Yeah, I'm glad McCain isn't playing politics with this crisis or anything. He's really blowing it. First he tried to take credit for the bailout agreement when it looked like it was about to pass; so when the agreement failed he was standing there with egg on his face. I think he's lost too much credibility to have a chance; I hope so anyway.

September 30, 2008 at 6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo! from a new reader. I'll be adding a link to Who Hijacked Our Country for my savvy readers, too. Love your blog, man *grin*

October 4, 2008 at 9:06 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Commontator: Thanks. I'll link you up too.

October 4, 2008 at 11:30 PM  

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