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Current proposals for the government to take on the bad debts of financial institutions and guarantee the investments in mutual funds will bring about the most extreme makeover of our economy in the nation’s history. And we are told not to think about it for very long because any delay could lead to the worst depression ever. We are asked to hand over all economic control to a small cadre of unelected officials who cannot be challenged in Congress, the courts or even by the President. This is simply wrong.
Taxpayers are asked to fork over their wallets to the tune of a minimum of $700 billion and probably 3 trillion dollars so that a system that ran amok seeking obscene profits and payouts can save itself. And, as is usual in any revolutionary move such as this, we are told it is all being done for our own good.
Politicians of every stripe are clamoring to get on board this extreme makeover for fear of being tarred with the label of “the one who caused the Great Depression II”. Both presidential candidates are trying to make it sound like they are for this plan while standing firm for the “average American.” Hogwash. Both are handmaidens of corporate owners and neither has the guts to talk about the many problems of our economic system.
Should we take on this bailout? Maybe. But if we do, we need to exact some real reforms that are long overdue, among which are:
1. Every aspect of the financial industry needs to be tightly regulated by the federal government to prevent this from ever happening again. Those who have the power to regulate must include enough people outside the current system to have an effective say in the course of our recovery from the current debacle.
2. Executive pay must be regulated to prevent the kind of obscene payouts awarded for ruining our economy.
3. Taxes must be raised on the upper 5% of earners of all sorts to begin to reduce the national debt.
4. We must rapidly end all our military engagements and reduce our defense budget by 50% as a way to cut the debt.
5. Actions by those empowered to administer the bailout and the financial system must be subject to ongoing Congressional oversight and veto. We cannot allow the Fed or any other agency to put us at peril like this again.
Most importantly we as Americans have got to lead the way by getting out of personal debt, reducing our dependency on buying everything thrown our way, and rejecting the control over us by world corporate interests. Yes, there are many who deserve blame for the current mess, but we individually have more power and responsibility than we acknowledge.
Those who read my ramblings know that I always end up placing the ball in the hands of each one of us, if for no other reason than it is only our own actions we have some control over. Blaming others may be accurate, justified and cathartic, but if you and I don’t reform our own behavior there is little hope for the future.