"It's extraordinary to me that the United States can find $700 billion to save Wall Street and the entire G8 can't find $25 billion dollars to saved 25,000 children who die every day from preventable diseases."
Bono on the Bailout
This weekend, a friend of mine from New York was in Chicago, and I was able to take the train up there to visit her and another of our friends who lives in Elgin. Melissa commented that she hadn't seen any homeless people yet, which surprised her because homeless people were all over NYC.
As we strolled up the Magnificent Mile, I thought it was a little odd myself, but then again, I'm from a small city that isn't as busy as Chicago. The last time I was in Chicago, I only saw homeless people at night. So maybe they only come at at night.
Not but twenty minutes later, I heard a woman say, "Please, can someone help me?" I turned to see who was calling out, and this woman sat in the grass, holding a sign that said she was homeless and needed help. In the next fifteen minutes, I saw four other homeless people, including one elderly man, who looked barely conscious, in a wheelchair.
Cities, of course, are a study in contrasts. They always have been:
46Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. (Mark 10:46)
1Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. (John 5:1-3)
Here we have two major cities in Israel, places of business and trade, and both have beggars. People probably passed these beggars all the time, so used to seeing the poor that they rarely noticed them, much less heard their cries.
That's kind of what it was like in Chicago this weekend. Here I was, surrounded by fancy hotels, upscale retail establishments, and museums out the wazoo. People swarmed by me (at one point, Melissa leaned over to me and said, "This is what a New York sidewalk looks like."). And yet, in the middle of all this money and style, people walked right on by the poor people, some of whom cried out for help.
To start this post, I quoted Bono, who wondered why we have so much money to bail out ailing business from the mortgage crisis, but no money to help prevent disease in children. Or why do we have so much money to bail out these businesses, but not enough money to pay for single payer health insurance, homelessness prevention, or aid for those in poverty around the world?
Our federal government showed its priorities in introducing this bail out package. Hint: it's not people.
The House of Representatives voted against the bill today:
House ignores Bush, rejects $700B bailout bill
By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - In a stunning vote that shocked the capital and worldwide markets, the House on Monday defeated a $700 billion emergency rescue for the nation's financial system, ignoring urgent warnings from President Bush and congressional leaders of both parties that the economy could nosedive without it. The Dow Jones industrials plunged nearly 800 points, the most ever for a single day.
Democratic and Republican leaders alike pledged to try again, though the Democrats said GOP lawmakers needed to provide more votes. Bush huddled with his economic advisers about a next step. The House was to reconvene on Thursday instead of adjourning for the year as planned.
Stocks began falling even before the 228-205 vote to reject the bill was officially announced on the House floor. The 777-point decline for the day surpassed the 721-point previous record, on the day after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, though in percentage terms it was well short of the drops on Black Monday of October 1987 and at the start of the Depression.
In the House chamber, as a digital screen recorded a cascade of "no" votes against the bailout, Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley of New York shouted news of the falling stocks. "Six hundred points!" he yelled, jabbing his thumb downward.
Bush and a host of leading congressional figures had implored the lawmakers to pass the legislation despite loud protest from their constituents back home. Not enough members were willing to take the political risk just five weeks before an election.
More than two-thirds of Republicans and 40 percent of Democrats opposed the bill.
The overriding question for congressional leaders was what to do next. Congress has been trying to adjourn so that its members can go out and campaign for the election that is just five weeks away.
"The legislation may have failed; the crisis is still with us," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in a news conference after the defeat.
"What happened today cannot stand," Pelosi said. "We must move forward, and I hope that the markets will take that message."
At the White House, Bush said, "I'm disappointed in the vote. ... We've put forth a plan that was big because we've got a big problem." He pledged to keep pressing for a measure that Congress would pass.
Republicans blamed Pelosi's scathing speech near the close of the debate — which attacked Bush's economic policies and a "right-wing ideology of anything goes, no supervision, no discipline, no regulation" of financial markets — for the vote's failure.
"We could have gotten there today had it not been for the partisan speech that the speaker gave on the floor of the House," Minority Leader John Boehner said. Pelosi's words, the Ohio Republican said, "poisoned our conference, caused a number of members that we thought we could get, to go south."
Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the whip, estimated that Pelosi's speech changed the minds of a dozen Republicans who might otherwise have supported the plan.
That was a remarkable accusation by Republicans against Republicans, said Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee: "Because somebody hurt their feelings, they decided to punish the country."
The presidential candidates kept close track — from afar.
In Colorado, Democrat Barack Obama said, "Democrats, Republicans, step up to the plate, get it done."
Republican John McCain spoke with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke before leaving Ohio for a campaign stop in Iowa, a spokeswoman said.
The legislation the administration promoted would have allowed the government to buy bad mortgages and other rotten assets held by troubled banks and financial institutions. Getting those debts off their books should bolster those companies' balance sheets, making them more inclined to lend and easing one of the biggest choke points in the credit crisis. If the plan worked, the thinking went, it would help lift a major weight off the national economy that is already sputtering.
Monday's action had been preceded by unusually aggressive White House lobbying, and Fratto said that Bush had been making calls to lawmakers until shortly before the vote.
Bush and his economic advisers, as well as congressional leaders in both parties had argued the plan was vital to insulating ordinary Americans from the effects of Wall Street's bad bets. The version that was up for vote Monday was the product of marathon closed-door negotiations on Capitol Hill over the weekend.
"We're all worried about losing our jobs," Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., declared in an impassioned speech in support of the bill before the vote. "Most of us say, 'I want this thing to pass, but I want you to vote for it — not me.'"
Said Boehner, after the vote: "Americans are angry, and so are my colleagues. They don't want to have to vote for a bill like this. But I have concerns about what this means for the American people, what it means for our economy, and what it means for people's jobs. I think that we need to renew our efforts to find a solution that Congress can support."
I got an email today from my cousin that has a solution. Congress might not support it, but I'm betting the rest of America would:
Good afternoon my fellow Americans,
I'm against the $85,000,000,000..00 bailout of AIG.
Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a We Deserve It Dividend.
To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+.
Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might b e a fair stab at adults 18 and up..
So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billion that equals $425,000.00.
My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It Dividend.
Of course, it would NOT be tax free.
So let's assume a tax rate of 30%.
Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes.
That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.
But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket.
A husband and wife has $595,000.00.
What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?
Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved.
Repay college loans - what a great boost to new grads
Put away money for college - it'll be there
Save in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs.
Buy a new car - create jobs
Invest in the market - capital drives growth
Pay for your parent's medical insurance - health care improves
Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean - or else
Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other com pany that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.
If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it...instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 ( "vote buy" ) economic incentive that is being proposed by one of our candidates for President.
If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!
As for AIG - liquidate it.
Sell off its parts.
Let American General go back to being American General.
Sell off the real estate.
Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.
Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't.
Sure it's a crazy idea that can "never work."
But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!
How do you spell Economic Boom?
I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion!
My "We Deserve It Dividend" is more deserving for US, than the "geniuses" at AIG or in Washington DC!!!
And remember, The Brannon plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.
Ahhh...I feel so much better getting that off my chest.
Kindest personal regards,
Stephen T Brannon -- A Creative Guy & Citizen of the Republic
PS: Feel free to pass this along to your pals as it's either good for a laugh or a tear or a very sobering thought on how WE ordinary people can think better than our current government representatives and could develop a much better economic bail-out plan!!!
Of course, this email was a joke (sort of), but it shows how ridiculous the whole thing is. These companies were poor stewards of their money and made bad loans to people who wanted cheap payments on mortgages they couldn't afford. When the recession began and people couldn't make their house payments, the mortgage companies started to see the results of their bad stewardship. And now they want to be saved.
Instead of saving a few companies from their own stupidity, why don't we save some people from their poverty? Why can't we use that money to help sick people pay their doctors bills, or buy homes for those who have had to choose between food and a mortgage payment? Maybe we should help developing countries with their food supplies instead of making sure a few presidents and CEOs don't lose their homes and cars.