by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
Ocftober 2, 2008
LET CONGRESS PAY YOUR BILLS
BRADENTON, Fla., Sept. 30, 2008 -- Will wonders never cease? I never thought the right-wing Republicans of the House of Representatives would join arms with the progressive Democrats that populate this newspaper and put the kibosh on President George W. Bush's greedy, unrealistic and anti-American $700 billion bailout plan for Wall Street.
We hear the arguments about the impending ctastrophe, and we even admit that a few catastrophes are more than likely going forward without the plan. But our "fundamentally strong" economy can weather such hits, can't it, Sen. McCain?
And that's true: What the doomsday chorus forgets is the cpacity of financial institutions to perpetuate themselves even under the dire circumstances of a short-term credit freeze.
Looking at the Asian and European markets at 4AM EDT this morning, I see not the scattered wreckage of a financial cyclone but the same struggling markets I have watched for years.
The dollar's up, the pound is down, oil's lower and gold is higher, and the analysts are predicting everything from a second Great Deprerssion to a short-term rally. Amid this, i can still hear my father's words:
If there is a prescription for Wall Street, that's it. Don't panic just because the government isn't going to risk huge sums of taxpayer money to bail you out. Don't panic because many of you have lost your jobs. Don't panic because the institutions that so gamely leveraged, bought and borrowed with abandon for the past 5 years have abruptly vanished. It happens, especially to people who can't value what they own, or are too busy to care whether the investments they make are in solid insitutions or 40-gallon barrels of bundled bad loans.
That said, I can't help but think that the mortgage bailout might have passed if our alleged representatives showed just a drop of compassion for the ordinary American in their plan. If you or I knew it was going to cut out the onerous late and overlimit and overdraft fees we pay, or restore our credit rates to the historic levels of 7% or less (as the mortgage crisis, with far more pain will force them to do eventually), the telephone calls might not have been so very heated, and the bill might have passed. But we got nothing for our money, and thank God, the House Republicans didn't give them any.
The House Democrats are supposed to tbe the party of the people, but what did they or Senate Democrats do to leaven this stony bread with any of the small comforts we require? Why didn't Barack Obama (or John McCain) fight for the average family that is being nickel-and-dimed to death by their creditors?
Why didn't they admit that with all the millions of homeowners who have already gone bust, they had to be able to reduce mortgage rates in the bankruptcy courts if there was any chance justice might be kind? Why do they let them continue to rob the most vulnerable, the tens of millions of Americans who are forced to borrow by the high cost of everything they need? Why do they call themselves Christians - so many of them, anyway - when they enable the greed of giant corporations?
The people we trust, very tentatively, did absolutely nothing. Instead, Democrats on both houses fell all over themselves trying to see it the way Presdent Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Resere Chairman Ben Bernanke see it, which is through a glass darkly. Why didn't they try to do something meaningful for the little guy?
I think you might answer that question - and i know most progressives would - by saying that these folks, elected with Wall Street money and builders' money and corporate America's money - don't really represent us at all. They cannot even see us. They have no ability to really empathize with the simple exigencies of our daily lives. Instead, their first thought when they are asked to bail out Wall Street is not, How can I get real relief for the American people from these people who are holding them up? Instead, they ask, whose butt can I kiss to assure myself some fat donations before Election Day?
As some readers know, I have made a major effort to promote the use of hydrogen generator kits in cars and trucks to improve mileage 30%-50% and dramtically cut our dependence on foreign oil at a pretty low cost per vehicle. As I've written, hundreds of thousands of these kits have been sold and installed, and there are something like 16,500 videos on YouTube trumpeting their use.
So how does a government that is not working hand and fist with the banks, the oil companies and the Big 3 not notice and promote the use of hydrogen-on-demand right now? Why do Obama's speeches on alternative energy promote every costly alternative to gas and ignore low-cost hydrogen made from water? The answer is that he is in bed with those folks, and can't hear the people working in their garages and back yards to save themselves from Big Oil and their pals. John McCain is just as deaf, but maybe a little more human.
Something needs to give, not on Wall Street but in Washington. We need a new populist leadership that is not just an extension of the solar or the eco-industrial people but truly representative of the ordinary American's reality.
If we can't pay our mortgages or our credit card bills, how can we`afford to install solar cells? Or any of that stuff? The words roll off their golden tongues - alternative, biomass, wind, solar - and they talk about it as though it's nearly free, It's far more expensive at the start than what we pay now for plain-jane electricity and gasoline. Sure, there could be savings 10 years from now, but what about this week? Do you know how bad it is out here? Fifty million of us can't afford to visit a doctor. The rest of us can't afford to fill our gas tank. This winter, we might not be able to heat our homes.
And if you're unwilling to give us any kind of a real break on the 10% mortgages or the 19% and 22% and 30% credit card interest rates we pay, or take advantages of hydrogen, the very cheapest fuel, or even intervene in the bankruptcy courts, why do you think we're going to cheer when you want to bail out Wall Street? Get a life!
Or get in touch.