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For the Record 9/25/08

Editor’s note: The following remarks were delivered on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 22, 2008 by Representative Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat who represents Toledo, Ohio.
Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, here is the latest reality game. Let’s play Wall Street Bailout.

Rule one: Rush the decision. Time the game to fall in the week before Congress is set to adjourn and just six weeks before a historic election so your opponents will be preoccupied, pressured, distracted, and in a hurry.

Rule two: Disarm the public through fear. Warn that the entire global financial system will collapse and the world will fall into another Great Depression. Control the media enough to ensure that the public will not notice this. Bailout will indebt them for generations, taking from them trillions of dollars they earned and deserve to keep.

Rule three: Control the playing field and set the rules. Hide from the public and most of the Congress just who is arranging this deal. Communicate with the public through leaks to media insiders. Limit any open congressional hearings. Communicate with Congress via private teleconferencing calls. Heighten political anxiety by contacting each political party separately. Treat members of Congress condescendingly, telling them that the matter is so complex that they must rely on those few insiders who really do know what’s going on.

Rule four: Divert attention and keep people confused. Manage the news cycle so Congress and the public have no time to examine who destroyed the prudent banking system that served America so well for 60 years after the financial meltdown of the 1920s.

Rule five: Always keep in mind the goal is to privatize gains to a few and socialize loss to the many. For 30 years in one financial scandal after another, Wall Street game masters have kept billions of dollars of their gain and shifted their losses to American taxpayers. Once this bailout is in place, the greed game will begin again.

But I have a counter-game. It’s called Wall Street Reckoning. Congress shouldn’t go home to campaign. It should put America’s accounts in order.

To Wall Street insiders, it says “no’’ on behalf of the American people. You have perpetrated the greatest financial crimes ever on this American republic. You think you can get by with it because you are extraordinarily wealthy and the largest contributors to both presidential and congressional campaigns in both major parties, but you are about to be brought under firm control.

First, America doesn’t need to bail you out, it needs to secure the real assets and property, not your paper, that means the homes and properties of hardworking Americans who are about to lose their homes because of your mortgage greed. There should be a new job for regional Federal Reserve Banks. We want no home foreclosed if a serious work-out agreement can be put into place. And if you don’t do it, we want a notarized statement by a Federal Reserve official that they tried and failed.

Second, taxpayers should directly gain any equity benefits that may flow from this historic bailout. We want the American people to get first priority in taking ownership of the institutions that want to pass their toxic paper onto the taxpayers.

Third, before any bailouts for Wall Street, America needs major job creation to rebuild our major infrastructure. America needs assets, not paper. We need working assets.

Fourth, the time for real financial regulatory change is now, not next year. A modernized Glass Eagle Act must be put in place. We need to reestablish locally-owned community savings banks across this country and create within the Justice Department a fully funded unit to prosecute every single high-flying thief whose fraud and criminal acts created this debacle and then forced their disgorgement of assets going back 15 years.

Fifth, any refinancing must return a major share of profits to a new Social Security and Medicare lockbox, where the monies can go to pay for a dignified and assured retirement for every American. This member isn’t voting for a penny of it. Those who created and profited from this game of games must be brought to justice. The assets they stole must be returned to the American taxpayers, right down to the tires on their Mercedes.

Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in cosponsoring my bill to create an independent commission to investigate these well-heeled wrongdoers. Real reform now, or nothing.

4 Responses

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  1. Ralph Hial

    Neither political party wants to identify the guilty who performed all this mortgage fraud. Being unable to determine who is to blame, the parties therefore can’t produce a real fix for it all. This bailout will be more of a GIVEAWAY, and the very elite crooks who participated in this vast crime will get their wallets re-filled … while the middle class slumps into the working poor.

  2. David Welsh

    I second and support the motion!

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