Incredible! This time, when the People
spoke, Congress listened.
At least 228 members of the House listened.
They voted early this afternoon to reject the Bush Administration's
scaremongering, and the cowardly Democratic Congressional leadership's
attempt at ducking and covering by attaching some meaningless verbiage
to what remains a case of legalized highway robbery. At least for the
moment, the bailout scam is killed.
Earlier in the day, the Congressional
switchboard was jammed. You could get through, but it took a dedicated
finger on the redial button of your phone. Operators at the Capitol
say it's been that way for a week now, as Americans across the country
have been flooding their Congressional delegations with phone calls
(and emails) urging them to vote "No" on the Bush/Paulson
Wall Street bailout.
That today was no exception, even after
Democratic Party leaders (and both major party presidential candidates,
John McCain and Barack Obama) had bought into the plan following their
adding of some window-dressing measures designed to make it look more
palatable, showed that the public is not being fooled (calls were reportedly
running better than 9:1 or more like 999:1 against a bailout, perhaps
more like 99:1).
People see clearly that this proposal
is a trillion-dollar giveaway to the very people who have been hollowing
out and destroying the US economy for over a decade or more by convincing
both parties to let them do whatever they want to get rich, free of
any kind of significant oversight or regulation.
As Nobelist economist Joseph Stiglitz
has written of this outrageous rip-off, there are four problems facing
the financial system, and the bailout proposal only addresses one--getting
the toxic mortgages off the banks' books and onto taxpayers' hands.
Left unsolved is the gaping hole in banks' balance sheets in the form
of loans made to people and companies which cannot be repaid, which
will mean they still won't start lending money again. Left unaddressed
too is the continuing collapse of housing prices, which will inevitably
lead to more bank collapses even after the bailout. Finally, Stiglitz
says there is the general loss of faith in the financial system--a major
crisis which the bailout will also not solve.
Stiglitz doesn't even address a fifth
problem which is that this trillion-plus-dollar boondoggle (and when
you add in the bailouts of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, Bear Stearns,
the multiple mega-bank failures and the pending auto-industry bailout,
you're already talking $1.5 trillion and counting), all of it with borrowed
money, the stage is being set for a collapse in the US dollar, with
consequences that will reverberate through the economy. Consider: if
the dollar collapses, as many experts say is almost inevitable with
this kind of huge addition to the national debt, oil prices (which are
set in dollars) will soar to compensate, the price of all the other
goods that Americans import--more than half of everything we use in
daily life thanks to the decimation of American manufacturing--will
rise dramatically, and ultimately, in an effort to stem the bleeding,
interest rates will have to be raised, thus bringing what's left of
the economy to a grinding halt.
All of this is readily predictable--and
indeed a group of over 200 prominent economists has written Congress
joining Stiglitz in opposing the bailout plan--but that doesn't matter
to the proponents of the bailout in Washington. What they want is to
get past Election Day, and the bailout may do that, unless the public
gets really aroused.
The tsunami of calls and emails to Congress,
and last week's nationwide demonstrations against the bailout suggest
that the public is waking up to this looming disaster and to the fact
that they are being sold a bill of goods.
But it ain't over yet. We can be sure
there will be arm-twisting now to try and get 12 members of Congress
to change their votes and win passage in the House (the Senate, where
two-thirds of the members aren't facing election for two or four years,
will probably pass the bill easily). A continued expression of public
outrage and of a promise of retaliation at the ballot box against those
who vote for the bailout needs to be expressed.
If you haven't made an effort to call
your two senators and your representative to demand that they vote "No"
on this bailout, do it now (the number is 202-225-3121 or 202-224-3121),
and don't give up when you get a busy signal. That's a sign that you
are not alone. Just keep hitting "redial" until you get through.
At that point, get the operator, before switching you, to give you direct
numbers for your three members of Congress, so you can bypass the main
switchboard number after that. If you did call, call again and say you
don't want anyone changing their vote to become a bailout backer.
Unlike the 2002 rush to war against Iraq,
we've shown that this latest bum's rush can still be stopped. We did
To make your next call more impactful,
make sure you tell each member of your congressional delegation that
any yes vote on the bailout means you will vote against them next election.
To read about this strategy, go to:
ThrowThemAllOut.com...and then spread
Keep the pressure on!
And don't forget to contact the Obama
campaign too. How embarrassing for candidates Obama and McCain, who
both got suckered into backing the bailout, which it is now abundantly
clear the American people recognize as a ripoff.
PS: Imagine if the same kind of pressure
had been brought on Congress back in October 2002 when Bush was scare-mongering
Congress into approving a war against Iraq. We'd have 4500 young Americans
still alive, 40,000 other young Americans would still have their limbs
and other body parts. A million-plus Iraqis would still be alive. And
the country would have an extra $500 billion with which to deal with
the current economic crisis.