For years, we've been told by the government and by the pundits that there is no money for national healthcare, no money for schools, no money for the levees, no money to fix bridges, no money for a decent public transportation system, no money to fully fund social security, and no money to alleviate the needs of the poor. Now, the President and Congress have told us, "Wait a second folks, there's a trillion we can play around with to bail out the Wall Street firms which have been bleeding you for years."
True, the Democrats are trying to tweak this corporate give-away. The Democrats, after all, are good at tweaking. But, we don't need an improvement on a plan hatched by the Bush Administration as a last grab for the rich - a grab which follows the trillions which have already gone to the rich in the way of tax breaks and the war in Iraq, a war which has shifted masses amount of taxpayer monies to arms manufacturers and unscrupulous military contractors.
Instead, now that we know there is a $1 trillion out there for the taking, we must insist that the needs of the working and middle class people in this country be taken care of, and taken care of now. The choice is stark - we can insist that this money go to solve basic human needs and benefit us as a society, or we can watch that money go to the rich bankers who got is into the mess we're in. And, if the latter course is taken, you can be guaranteed that there will be no money left over for social programs. As Naomi Klein properly predicted, even social security will be in jeopardy.
So, we need to act and act fast. My modest proposal is for a massive demonstration in Washington. Every woman, man and child able and willing should leave their jobs, leave their schools and march to Washington where we tell Congress: You have seven days to sign legislation that will
*guarantee us national health care;
*fully fund our public schools;
*fully fund social security;
*fully fund medicare;
*fund assistance for mortgage holders and renters;
*fund a decent public transportation system;
*fund our nation's infrastructure;
*fund alternatives to fossil fuels.
And, we're not leaving Washington until you do this.
What happens with these "bailout" monies is, quite frankly, as important, and possibly more important, than who is elected president. As Obama himself said yesterday, if those monies are spent, the next president will have few resources left to deal with other problems of concern. Sadly, he and Biden, while scratching their heads about the "bailout" now in play, and saying that it deserves serious consideration, have not expressed any ideas for an alternative. Therefore, folks, we can't depend on Obama and the Democrats to solve this issue for us. We can't wait until November for this issue to come and go. It will be too late by then.
We must seize this moment now and turn this situation to our advantage while Bush and his rich patrons are in retreat and begging for handouts. We must say, "No handouts for the rich." Instead, "Give us Social Justice!"
Update: I just saw on the DailyKos that there is a protest against the corporate bailout on WallStreet tomorrow (Thursday). Here are the details:
When: 4pm, Thursday, September 25.
Where: Southern end of Bowling Green Park, in the plaza area
What to bring: Banners, noisemakers, signs, leaflets, etc.
Why: To say we won't pay for the Wall Street bailout