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I have to take exception to the title of David Boaz’s piece; “Equal Opportunity Corrupters.” This implies that the people running Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac made the members of Congress “an offer they could not refuse” and forced them to accept money and other compensations to allow these companies to bilk the American people. This is patently ridiculous. In this country, we have the best legislators that money can buy and we always have. No one has to twist their arms or threaten their families to get them to except extra compensation, they seem to be more than willing to do so with no encouragement what-so-ever.
We pay the members of Congress $169,000.00+ every year to represent us and safeguard our interests. Yet, year after year they fail to do so. Now, they are asking us to fork over $1 trillion of our money to correct a situation that they caused. And it might not work. The S&L crisis of the 1980s and 1990s was addressed with a government bailout. It put this country into a six-year recession. As a result, credit regulations were tightened. But, thanks to the Clinton Administration and the Congress, those regulations were weakened and were kept weak by the current Congress. Because of this we have now assumed responsibility for all of the subprime paper held by Fannie and Freddie, we have assumed responsibility for $85 billion for the purchase of AIG, and are on track to spend $25 billion on direct loans to the automobile industry, $200 billion in FDIC payouts and, the whopper, $700+ billion for the acquisition of all of the insolvent loans held by the credit industry. It might just be cheaper to nationalize private industry. Unfortunately, should that happen, Congress would lose access to a source of secondary income.p>The bailout will go through, whether the people like it or not. We can only hope that any money that Congressmen made from these financial giants went into mutual funds so that they can share our pain. Good job, guys. br> — Michael Tobias /p>
There appears to be a lot of culpability in the subprime banking mess and it’s not easy to understand where the ultimate blame lies with all the finger-pointing going on. Tell me if I’m wrong but from here, at a distance, it looks like it started with congressional Democrats who wanted to put low income people into homes. They made taxpayer money available and pressured banks to make loans to these unqualified people. Once government fingers were in it, this fortune of available money was used to profit corrupt and greedy government insiders who had been entrusted with stewarding the people’s money. Wall Street is a capitalist institution and capitalism is amoral. Wall Street’s job is to make as much money as it can legally, period; the morality of how it is made is the responsibility of the people who write the laws that Wall Street must obey, in this instance the same congressional Democrats who began the low income housing loan program in the first place, then blocked attempts at reform when government insider corruption and greed made it obvious that without it a financial catastrophe was certain.
Now Barack Obama is out there obsessing about the Bush administration’s failure to regulate Wall Street when the problem was never with Wall Street, it has always been with the Democrats in Congress who refused to regulate themselves knowing full well what was coming, at a time when they could have saved us all from this mess. This betrayal of the people by the people’s government in Washington is shared by many but the greatest and most enraging culprits appear from here to be the congressional Democrats. If that is the case, then John McCain’s candidacy could well hinge on his ability to reverse Obama’s vigorous attempt to shift blame from the Democrat Party to the Republican Party and stick it where it belongs. The anger about this bailout is white hot and increasing. The political party left holding the bag will lose in November. Obama’s economic and political positions on the bailout are a glass house that can be brought down by the truth about our betrayal by corrupt, greedy congressional Democrats and their insider allies if it is said clearly, often and without waver. Telling the truth over the upcoming weeks and particularly in the debate on the economy gives him the chance to pivot this election his way.p>On the paranoid side, is it possible that the timing of this crisis was manipulated to occur at this point in the campaign? br> — Allen Hurt br> New Mexico