To the Members of Congress Concerning the Bailout Proposal
You're falling for a ruse. You were suckered once before. It was called Iraq; this time, it's the financial services industry. You're being told, once again, that disaster is right around the corner if you do not give the President and his people the authority to act right away.
You're still thinking that the wording of your legislation will somehow put reins on how the "crisis" is managed. This was what you thought the last time, when you handed President George W. Bush what he interpreted as the authority to wage a full-scale war that has now lasted more than five long, costly years. The disaster of your thinking, both then and now, is swallowing the predicate assumption that the Administration is telling you what the real crisis is.
You have grave, important, reputable people within the Administration not only telling you the crisis is real, but also telling you what constitutes the crisis. You have outside experts telling you the crisis is real. You have news media outlets telling you the crisis is real.
That's exactly what happened the last time; and just like last time, you'll eventually find out what you probably already know: it isn't any more real this time than it was when then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice threatened a "mushroom cloud," Vice President Dick Cheney misrepresented aluminum rocket tubes as uranium centrifuge parts, and George W. Bush used a forged document as evidence that Saddam Hussein was building nuclear weapons. It isn't any more real this time than it was when Colin Powell disgraced himself before the United Nations by repeating lies and Rice famously claimed "Nobody could have imagined" crazed jihadists would use planes to ram buildings when she and Bush were told exactly that this kind of attack was imminent.
It isn't any more real this time than it was when we committed ourselves to a war in a nation that had not hurt us but would, over the next five-and-a-half years, drink the blood of over four thousand of our soldiers and suck the life from our credibility among the nations of the world.
Now, five-and-a-half years later, we are still mired in an occupation that cannot be brought to a close. Even the Democratic candidate for President, Barack Obama, who once talked about something close to immediate withdrawal, now describes a 16-month timetable. Moreover, whenever we leave, the cost of the war will continue. By the estimate of Nobel Prize-winning economist Alfred Stiglitz, the final tab will be as much as three trillion dollars, of which the U.S. has spent to date less than a fourth.
With all that, the terror network that actually, successfully attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, still exists; and in the theatre of war where we are engaging that enemy and its allies, we are losing. The forces of the Taliban allies of al-Qa'ida control the majority of the physical territory of Afghanistan, they have turned the country into a vertical opium monopoly larger than any other on earth, and they are using the neighboring nation of Pakistan as a staging ground for recruitment, training, and the projection of power into battle theatres of their choosing inside Afghanistan.
And just like last time, as you commit this nation to a war against a false crisis, the war that should be foughtthe only war that should be fought right nowfor American families losing their homes, their creditworthiness, their jobs, their opportunities, and their futures will be addressed like an ugly stepchild while the false threat will just keep billowing into a black hole gorging on the treasure of this nation.
Last time, Iraq was the battleground that caused us to ignore the theatre of engagement where the jihadists actually were; this time, the financial services industry will be the theatre of engagement that will cause us to ignore the crisis of American citizens losing their homes, their jobs, and their futures.
You refused last time to see the manipulation and fabrication of "evidence" being poured at you by men and women who had, themselves, failed to secure the homeland, and you're doing it again: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke allowed the growth rate of the kind of money huge financial institutions use to go completely out of control while the Federal Reserve held the growth rate of the kind of money that average Americans use at nearly zero. That created a liquidity crisis that forced millions upon millions of Americans into a debilitating spiral of unpayable indebtedness as they went to the banking system that was awash in money the Fed had been letting grow out of control. The financial services sector thus took advantage of this widening disparity between cash available in the economy of regular people and the claims on cash flow they were surrendering to the financial services companies.
Banks, investment houses, and all manner of other top-notch institutions had a veritable cornucopia of risks on which they could build an intangible asset empire of derivatives against which they could offer hedges on the very mortgages and other loans they were making to everyday people trying to hold onto their lifestyles and their pursuit of the American dream. There was nothing wrong with Americans doing this: that was the great promise of the last half of the 20th Century, a country where people could become prosperous, live in their own homes, and see to it that their children grew up to have the same and maybe even better.
Look hard at what the reality is. Do you really think that dream is still attainable for tens of millions of Americans? How do you think those kids whose parents have lost their homes are going to grow up?
And then there's Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who was at one time, himself, a part of that very industry he now demands of you that the American taxpayers bail out. This is the Secretary of the Treasury for an Administration that took the country from growing budget surpluses at the end of the Clinton Administration to year after year of staggering federal budget deficits, which made the United States of America a massive borrower in global credit markets, finally creating a severe squeeze that first crowded out borrowing for private investment and is now doing the same to household consumption. (This was shown in Part Four of my series, "The Economics of Wreckage": the numbers are right there. Go look at them if you think any long-term good came out of a government that had no sense whatsoever of fiscal discipline.)
This bailout, just like the war in Iraq, will end up costing huge multiples of what you think right now it will, and that's because you have no idea what's going to come out of the woodwork once the program is underway. Just like in Iraq, where forces of mayhem long held at bay became everyday nightmares for American troops, bad investments, bad paper, and bad decisions long held in the background of financial statements will all of a sudden start billowing forth, and your $700 billion bailout will become a running nightmare of one round of extra funding after another, with a few of your colleagues finally demanding an immediate end to it while the rest of you know very well that it cannot end until it's all over and the United States is simply burned out. Just like Iraq.
And here you are, preening yourselves before the media, wiping the sweat off your brow, proudly displaying your "compromise" bailout bill for which the majority in Congress will vote in favor and the crisis monger in the White House will approve.
Good for you.
Now, stop. You've let everyone know you can be whipped into hysteria. You've let everyone know that you learned nothing from the Iraq debacle.
Now, let everyone know there's some reason not to throw you out of Congress. Show the citizens of this countrythe real citizens, not the corporationsthat you have a modicum of fear in you for their wrath.
Stop now. For the sake of this nation, just walk away from this bailout. For once in your collective lives as representatives of We the People, stand up to the fear mongering from those who know no other means by which to govern.
For once in your collective lives as the co-equal, legislative branch of the federal government, seize the moment and take back this country from those who would once again gut it of treasure for the benefit of the few.
Vote no on the bailout legislation, and tell the Bush Administration and its financial services industry beggars to stand down and go quietly into the bleak night of their failures.
Vote no on this bailout package.
The Dark Wraith has spoken.
Wrote Progressive Traditionalist:
Wrote Minstrel Boy:
Wrote Moody Blue:
Wrote Moody Blue:
Wrote Minstrel Boy:
Wrote Anna Van Z:
Wrote Wild Clover:
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