The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Toby Chaudhuri or Rachel Perrone at 202-955-5665

New Ad Questions Financial Bailout Without Conditions

Ad Campaign Asks What Public Gets in Return for $700B Bailout;


With people across the country calling for greater oversight of the Bush administration's proposed $700 billion bailout of the financial markets, a new ad in The New York Times and on several blogs today asks pointed questions that need to be answered before Congress hands the administration massive amounts of taxpayer money and unlimited power.

The ad features an extortion note with cut-out letters that read, "Give us $85 billion or the economy gets whacked." The ad goes on to expose the latest reality in the financial crises: "It turns out that last week's emergency bailout of once-mighty AIG was chump change. Now Wall Street is extorting another $700 billion from the taxpayers to cover their losses."

The ad, called "Banksters Run Amok," is the second in a seven-part ad campaign series sponsored by the Institute for America's Future that encourages Americans to demand a real debate focused on "seven national crises that won't wait." This week's ad focuses on the Bush administration's "fast track" proposals in response to the possible meltdown of the U.S. financial system triggered by the mortgage crisis.

Campaign for America's Future co-director Robert Borosage said that the real heist occurred decades ago when conservatives in power deregulated the financial system.

"Americans deserve a full accounting of how we got into this financial mess," said Borosage. "Conservatives destroyed commonsense rules of the road allowing financiers to make billions playing with our system. These huge sums spent to cover bad bets could've been used to make America better."

The ad raises three basic concerns surrounding the bailout. It points to the need for oversight in return for rescuing the banks. It also raises questions about the corruptive influence of Wall Street money on our politicians and justification for bailing out bankers rather than spending valuable taxpayer dollars on helping average Americans who need it most.

Each ad in the series seeks to provoke widespread discussion of major challenges facing the country. Leaders of the Institute are urging people to take the ads to public meetings, church groups and civic associations - to demand the debate the country needs.

The first ad outlined how the American dream is slipping out of reach for more and more families. Other ads in the series will focus on our soaring global debt, broken health care system, collapsing public infrastructure, the looming global warming challenge, increasing robber baron corruption and the seemingly endless occupation of Iraq and the war on terror.

The full text of this week's ad follows:

#2 In A Series
A Debate Worthy of a Great Nation in Trouble

"Give us $85 billion of the economy gets whacked."

It turns out that last week's emergency bailout of once-mighty AIG was chump change. Now Wall Street is extorting another $700 billion from the taxpayers to cover their losses.

And like AIG, Bear, Fannie and Freddie, their brink of disaster plea is conveyed to the Feds as a dire threat, almost a ransom note: "Save us or we'll take everyone down with us! We're too big to fail!

These huge sums spent to cover bad bets could have been used to make America better-fix a broken health care system, end our addiction to oil, rebuild a country that's falling apart. Instead we're forced to bail out the banks to keep a credit meltdown from laying waste to the real economy.

Finance is too important to be left to the bankers. Our grandfathers learned that lesson in the Great Depression. But over the last thirty years Wall Street money and market fundamentalism took over Washington, disarming the cop on the financial beat. Now we're paying the price for that folly.

3 Basic questions for the debate

1. What serious regulation of Wall Street banking practices must we demand in return for rescuing the banks?

2. Wall Street is a monster donor to both major parties. How can we trust any promise to crack down on these miscreants from politicians who compete for their contributions?

3. Rather than just bailing out bankers, shouldn't we be helping the folks they victimized - freezing home foreclosures, renegotiating mortgages, reviving usury laws to cap predatory interest rates, investing public money in the real economy and putting people to work?

for more go to

The Campaign for America's Future is the strategy center for the progressive movement. Our goal is to forge the enduring progressive majority needed to realize the America of shared prosperity and equal opportunity that our country was meant to be.