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Bailout: Congressional Predatory Lending

October 4, 2008

The nation is on life support and Congressional thugs plunder the empty till. Commentary by Leon Walker.

economic heartbeat

economic life support

There is something creepy about the thought of stealing the wrist watch of a person on life support. That is the feeling that descended upon me when I learned of the passage of the Wall Street Rescue bill which was passed on Wednesday night with attached pork barrel incentives…incentives totaling more than an additional one hundred billion dollars!

I don’t know why I would have expected anything of a more ethical, if not sensitive nature. After all, it was Congress, that permitted the debacle in large part, if not fully orchestrating the financial disaster that has crippled the nation economically and has Wall Street gasping for breath. In spite of this, I had simply imagined that something would occur in the U.S. Senate that would send a strong message to all Americans that our legislative leadership would act responsibly to avert the economic tsunami that they have warned is threatening. Given the severity and time sensitivity of this problem, I simply imagined that the traditional approach to legislating might be tamped down or abandoned in an effort to give us a greater measure of comfort. What in the world was I thinking?

economic light?

economic light?

Who cares what the House of Representatives does or does not do? The future will remain a true question mark. This is not an economic light switch that will cause the national economy to immediately illuminate because of any new legislation or an influx of our tax dollars. This is going to take time and have many more far reaching impacts. As we await further impacts of this economic crisis, the public remains frustrated and angry. The tactic of placing the masses in fear is being employed and there seems little chance that any clear answers can be expected in the near future. There is no obvious result that can be anticipated from this massive contribution of our tax dollars. What we do know is that many of the firms that are at the root of this problem may find some measure of initial relief. Still there will most certainly be skepticism about the future health of our national economy. For some period of time the credit markets will be difficult to navigate for the working American. Things cannot expect to magically rectify themselves as a result of this so called rescue.

The insight that we have gained from the actions of our legislative leadership is that they have no capacity to operate in a sterile environment of ethical decision making. There must me payoffs in pork that spark action rather than sincere concern for constituents. This is an embedded and institutional problem that cannot be rectified without some measure of shock treatment. When our leadership comes to us and warns of an impending crisis, asking that we support action, the move should be an effort to sound the alarm of truth and collective cooperation. It should be a truthful message for all Americans that can be relied upon and trusted.

There can me no excuses made for what has transpired in the last week regarding this rescue plan. Manipulating this legislation for advantage and adding additional cost in such a critical time is a moral crime. In the same way, there is nothing ethical about the actions of those on Wall Street that siphoned the money from our markets and ignited this economic fire storm.

As I have listened to the speeches and the political wrangling. I have been nauseated by the lack of understanding and the rigid commitment to personal or regional advantage under these circumstances. I have repeatedly heard about the work that is being done on a bipartisan basis to create a sense of calm on Wall Street. The truth of the matter is that there were and continue to be many options for resolving this problem that are more efficient and more directly beneficial to our citizens. This seven hundred billion dollar rescue figure was not arrived upon by accident. Clearly those troubled firms who made reckless fiscal decisions made it clear to our political leadership what their shortfalls are. There can be no doubt that this is the basis for determining the amount of our tax dollars that are required for the rescue.

In spite of the situation that continues to unfold there is a real problem when our legislative leadership takes advantage during a crisis. Lawmakers hold Americans hostage for more than an additional billion dollars while they promise to protect us in the midst of a financial disaster. In other words, those who we elected to serve us are charging us big bucks to deliver a vote to take action. This is to say nothing of the fact that this vote may not be truly in our best interest. This result of the decision made remains to be seen.

living on credit

living on credit

What kind of minds can be conditioned to manipulate working Americans while they attempt to comfortably subsist and remain focused on their individual goals in taking money from a nearly empty till? Many, if not most Americans, are not in favor of this rescue plan and yet they are being told that they are at risk if the bill should fail to pass. So while our legislative leadership holds this gun to the heads of Americans they are also sliding their hands into our pockets before they rob the rest of the house. Interestingly they claim that they are doing difficult work on our behalf and that this is required to shield us from doom. But most importantly, there can be no question that many of them actually believe this. Many of these legislative leaders know no other way of viewing their positions and responsibilities in working through bipartisan matters. If this is true, we must live with a Congress that is infected with a level of greed and unreasonable selfish powermongering that will always victimize us and place us at risk when we call upon them for help.

Our Congressional leadership has shown itself to be nothing more than a system of legislative predatory lenders. They are loan sharks that are no less ruthless and greedy than the white collar thugs on Wall Street that orchestrated this disaster.

They are going to take our money and invest it on our behalf in a beleaguered economy. They are going to correct a problem that they helped to cultivate. They are also going to charge us a handsome additional fee in “pork barrel spending” just because…

I would rather that they take the money and run as they look me in the face and demand my wrist watch.

Save the lecture about predatory lending and political ethics.

© 2008 Leon A. Walker

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