In a stunning deregulation reversal, President Bush in a one-minute statement before retreating back into his sealed White House bunker, called for the creation of a massive $700 billion dollar toxic mortgage bailout RTC-like organization to allow 'business as usual' for his Wall Street, white tie base. When you can print your own money you just raise the debt ceiling from $10.6 to $11.3 trillion to cover it and poof! problem gone. Drill baby drill!
Remember when 'trillion' was one of those hugely funny way out there numbers like $100 billion. We laughed at the cleverness when Google was formed because a google was a 1 with 100 zeros after it and we snickered when Mugabe, desperate to hold onto power in Zimbabwe printed a trillion dollar note which bought 3 loaves of bread?
Welcome to America 2008. It's 1932 and we're a banana republic trying to keep the Republican house of cards Ponzi scheme game of 3-card Monty afloat. I read a brilliant comment yesterday from a young former Reagan Administration worker on LA Progressive:
"What Reagan said at the time was he wanted to balance the budget and limit spending by reducing what the government took in. What most of us learned fairly quickly when hanging around the Republican insiders then and in later years was there was a secret agenda of many Republicans to not just reduce the intake of the government but to put the government in so much debt that there would never be an opportunity to build any more Roosevelt type social programs long after Republicans left office. This tactic was known as "Starving the Beast." Needless to say, for someone who had been captivated by Reagan's spoken ideology, learning that there was a secret ideology that would not the leave the United States in good shape was extremely disturbing."
We're here because banks and investment houses treated your home like chips on a craps table and the dice rolled "7-out, line in." They cynically bet the economy would not cycle or fluctuate and ran the debt up to a number so big it could not fail.
They knew they would get to write off their bad debts and walk away with a free-pass for nearly bankrupting and collapsing the economy with their greed-based mortgage-backed securities that created $1-$5 trillion worth of bad loans.
And if that was not arrogant enough, the Democrats were warned off by the Bush Administration from trying to load too many amendments onto a bill that would create the largest federal boondoggle ever.
If I were a Democrat in Congress here are two things I would demand in conference that our government include in this bill:
-- Criminal accountability and prosecution for those responsible. If it happened on your corporate watch, you and your executive team pay back in full your 9-figure salaries, sell 80% of your real assets as penalty and you serve hard time, minimum of 10-years in a federal prison for abandoning your fiduciary responsibility and stewardship of the company by perpetrating this fraud. No matter where in the world you flee for a seeming safe extradition haven, we hunt you down with the same fervor (but for real this time) with which we are hunting down bin Laden and those responsible for planning the 9-11 attacks. Those killed 3,000, "your greed is good" mantra has killed many, many thousands more around the world.
-- The government of 'We the People,' owns controlling interest in your business. We then sell it back to the company's original non-officer shareholders left holding the bag as you sold your shares, fled and eliminated your company's debt at a pre-arranged schedule of payments.
I want to see John McCain support that program (I know Obama will) and bring real accountability back to business and Washington. If we end up having to holding our nose and not develop a backbone, then I blame Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for caving.
Republicans "warning off" the Democrats?!? My coffee just shot out my nose.
This week OffTheBus is publishing a variety of stories that cover the policy differences between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama. If you have a policy expertise and would like to participate, please see Calling All Policy Gurus.