View Full Version : Socialism, American-Style

09-25-2008, 05:22 AM
Socialism, American-style: critics say bailout amounts to Wall Street welfare

September 23, 2008

WASHINGTON - Newt Gingrich is usually the kind of loyal party henchman the Republican party can depend upon to toe the party line.

And so his scathing interview with National Public Radio illustrated just how squeamish Americans, even diehard partisans, are feeling about the U.S. government's proposal of a US$700 billion bailout to the country's failing banks and financial firms.

"You have a Goldman Sachs chief of staff to the president and the Goldman Sachs secretary of the Treasury," said Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, referring to Joshua Bolten and Henry Paulson, respectively.

"And they convinced the president that the American people ought to send $700 billion to Wall Street - which I think is a very, very bad idea and I would argue is a very un-Republican idea. I don't understand what they think they're doing," Gingrich said in the interview this week.

Some of his Republican colleagues are equally dismayed.

"This massive bailout is not a solution," Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky told Tuesday's Senate banking committee hearings into the proposed bailout. "It is financial socialism and it's un-American."

Even the socialists have been making fun of it, saying Washington is embracing socialist tactics in an effort to rescue some of the biggest and wealthiest companies in the world.

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, a longtime foe of President George W. Bush, recently gloated about what's been portrayed as U.S. hypocrisy.

"The United States has spent $900 billion, four times what the Venezuela produces in a year, to try to boost the troubled finance system and housing market," the socialist president said in a speech in Caracas.

"They have criticized me, especially in the United States, for nationalizing a great company, CANTV, that didn't even cost $1.5 billion."

Paulson spent another day at the Senate banking committee panel on Tuesday, urging Congress to quickly pass the bailout proposal. He warned that the consequences for the U.S. economy would be grim if there was any further delay.

"We must do so in order to avoid a continuing series of financial institution failures and frozen credit markets that threaten the well-being of American families' financial well-being, the viability of businesses both small and large and the very health of our economy," Paulson said.

During his remarks, a spectator at the hearings raised a sign behind him that read "Fail."

Democrats are pushing for changes to the bill, including provisions that would ensure no multi-million-dollar severance packages for outgoing executives, some of whom already make annual salaries in the tens of millions. But some Republicans at the committee hearings were echoing Gingrich's sentiments and arguing against the bailout.

Under the plan, the government would buy bad mortgages and other troubled assets held by struggling banks and financial institutions. The aim is to get those debts off the bankers' books so they can bolster their balance sheets and start lending money to keep the economy chugging.

But the original draft of the proposed bill contains one alarming clause: "Decisions by the secretary pursuant to the authority of this act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."

The New York Times derided that portion of the bill on Tuesday as "the most amazing power grab in American history," dubbing it the financial equivalent of the much-maligned Patriot Act (http://search.live.com/results.aspx?FORM=CXTFIN&setlang=en-CA&q=Patriot%20Act&mkt=en-CA), which gave the federal government sweeping powers designed initially to curtail terrorist activity.

Gingrich, too, was startled.

"I think that Secretary Paulson has shown almost no understanding of how a democracy operates. His initial draft would have given him $700 billion of your tax money with no oversight, no judicial review, no accountability. I mean, we're not a dictatorship."

The bailout didn't appear to be flying with everyday citizens, either.

A Rasmussen Reports poll released Tuesday found that "most Americans are closely following news reports on the Bush administration's federal bailout plan for the country's troubled economy, but just 28 per cent support what has been proposed so far."

Thirty-seven per cent oppose it and 35 per cent are unsure.

Even New Yorkers, those Americans living in the financial capital of the world until Washington stepped in to wrest the crown away from Wall Street (http://search.live.com/results.aspx?FORM=CXTFIN&setlang=en-CA&q=Wall%20Street&mkt=en-CA), were unsympathetic about the suddenly unemployed among them.

"These people are on another planet," wrote one reader on the New York magazine website about an article entitled: "The Rage of the Previously Rich."

"How sad, some idiot with too much money made parasitizing off the work of others has been screwed by the parasites up the tap from him and he and others might lose their summer home or have to forgo the nanny or daily flower deliveries?"

Added another: "Don't expect me to feel sorry for these poor traders. I'm supposed to have sympathy for you because you have to downgrade to a $900,000 home?"

One New Yorker, however, said she feared for not just for the U.S. economy, but for her city's as well.

"I've heard journalists say that it may be the end of New York City's boom times and we could end up going back to higher crime rates, cheaper housing and lower living expenses in general, and a 'better environment' for artists, whatever that means exactly," said Meredith Modzelewski, 25, who works for a non-profit environmental company.

"But it's not just bankers that will be affected by this, it's everyone and everything who benefits from those bankers' money."

http://finance.sympatico.msn.ca/investing/stocks/article.aspx?cp-documentid=10620615 (http://finance.sympatico.msn.ca/investing/stocks/article.aspx?cp-documentid=10620615)

Olive Oil Goombah
10-05-2008, 10:14 PM
LOL @ the its UN american comment......was Roosevelts New Deal UN AMERICAN....i swear to god these conservatives really need to go. We need a new party.