I just got back from Washington D.C. where congressional lawmakers were in the process of surrendering $700 billion of the public’s money to the Wall Street schemers and speculators whose greed caused this crisis – and who are now threatening to shut down the machinery of our economy unless they get what the bailout with no strings attached. With a bipartisan consensus in favor of the bailout, my aim was to find someone on the House Banking Committee who would fight to protect the interests of taxpayers: for a cap on mortgage and credit card interest rates on money that we taxpayers are lending to the banks who are lending it back to us at a triple markup. And for conflict of interest rules that would safeguard our money against waste and corruption that so often accompanies huge federal programs. But there was no appetite for these straightforward principles among members of congress. I was told that the Bush Administration had privately used the “D” word – projected a second great depression – unless Congress immediately capitulated. Instead, they were arguing over whether the executives of these failed firms should be allowed to keep their bonuses, while I and I think many Americans are wondering why these fat cats aren’t already in jail. My guess is there’ll be a bailout by Monday with little but congressional lip service to taxpayer interests.
PS You can read a longer description of my trip to D.C at my blog on the financial mess at www.honestanswers.org.