Merry Christmas to Bailout Recipients, Bah humbug to the rest of us
I don’t know about you but I’m sick and tired of reading about the “bailout.” A day does not go by without being reminded how much those already loaded with cash and goodies receive yet another Christmas presents from we the taxpayers. I guess the proverbial “last straw” for
me was the report by the Associated Press that asked 21 banks that had received at least $1 billion from the government four simple questions: “How much has been spent? What was it spent on? How much is being held in savings, and what's the plan for the rest?” (“Where'd
the bailout money go? Shhhh, it's a secret,” Matt Apuzzo, Associate Press, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081222/ap_on_bi_ge/meltdown_secrets).
None of the banks would answer these four questions. That’s right, none of them!!
You would think that somebody in Congress or at the Treasury Department would demand some answers to the above questions.
A few had the gall to say things like "We're choosing not to disclose that," (Bank of New York Mellon, which got about $3 billion – the spokesperson also said, apparently with a straight face, "I just would prefer if you wouldn't say that we're not going to discuss those details") or
"We are going to decline to comment on your story" (Morgan Stanley) and "We're not sharing any other details. We're just not at this time" so said Wendy Walker, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based Comerica Inc., which received $2.25 billion from the government.)
In other words, we got your (taxpayers) money and we don’t owe you any explanation at all.
I know of thousands of ordinary criminals who stole a lot less and were at least honest about it who are now serving long prison terms. I wonder what they think about when they hear this kind of news.
Concerning the roughly $350 billion yet to be handed out to these same kind of people, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said: "What we've been doing here is moving, I think, with lightning speed to put necessary programs in place, to develop them, implement them, and then
we need to monitor them while we're doing this. So we're building this organization as we're going."
In other words, you don’t have a specific plan in place and instead will do this on an ad hoc basis and worry about the details later. But it is good to know you are moving “with lightning speed”!!
Think about all the times you have applied for a loan at your bank or credit union or any other institution and all the forms you had to fill out and all the personal questions you were asked. As revealed on the Rachael Maddow Show (MSNBC) a few nights ago, the form these
banks filled out to get taxpayer money was only two pages long!
Elizabeth Warren, the congressional “watchdog” that is supposed to be overseeing the bailout had this to say: "It is entirely appropriate for the American people to know how their taxpayer dollars are being spent in private industry."
Now that’s probably the understatement of the year!!
Meanwhile, what about all those CEOs who have been taking a pay cut, with some getting a salary of just one dollar a year? Don’t worry about them, as they are still doing quite well. For example according to Forbes, after getting a 38% pay raise in 2006, chief executives of the 500 biggest companies actually took a pay cut of 15% in 2007. So they “only” earned a total of $6.4 billion in 2007, an average of $12.8 million apiece. (For a complete ranking of top CEO salaries in 2007 see this web site: http://www.forbes.com/lists/2008/12/lead_bestbosses08_CEO-Compensation_Rank.html.)
As a new web site states: “It's time for a "People's Bailout" that fixes the real economy, restores a voice for working people in challenging corporate greed, provides emergency help to the victims of the crisis and begins building a fair economy that works for all”
While we are at it, let’s give the families of every soldier in the Middle East a big Christmas present and send the troops home, thereby saving lives and billions of dollars!