Bill Sepmeier: They spent it anyway
The New York Times’ Edmund Andrews and Mark Landler report, after the U.S. House turned down Henry Paulson’s request for $700 billion to bail out Wall Street, “With money markets around the world seizing in fear, the Fed on Monday announced that it would provide an extra $150 billion through an emergency lending program for banks, and an additional $330 billion through so-called swap lines with foreign central banks to help money markets from Europe to Asia … That was on top of the $230 billion the Fed borrowed last week so it could finance its previous efforts to prop up the American International Group and other institutions … Even if Congress refuses to pass the bailout measure, there is more money where that came from. The Treasury Department has already created a series of ‘supplemental’ Treasury securities to finance the Fed’s activities, and there is no limit to how many more it can issue and sell.”
By my count then, the Federal Reserve has within the past week alone, printed, borrowed and pumped $710 billion into Wall Street, without a vote in Congress or by the American People. This sum, $10 billion dollars more than claimed necessary by President Bush, Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke and the other “guardians” of our national treasury to forestall a global depression, has now been allocated and happily absorbed by the same high rollers on Wall Street who continue to whine this morning that yet another version of the most massive welfare program in history, already bestowed upon the wealthiest class without a vote by the people or their representatives, is still absolutely required.
My question as I absorb these facts is, why did Bush and Paulson even ask? Why did these guys make such a commotion over their $700 billion bailout, when they could give it away later in the day anyway, with no strings attached whatsoever?
The answer is obvious. Politics, power and above all, an attempt to legitimize their last and largest “transfer of wealth” (a.k.a. robbery) from the American middle class to the Top 1 Percent (those who bring home a couple of million or more a year already) in our history.
We are a month away from what should by rights be the end of the modern GOP due to its complete failure at governing and the GOP knows it. The only wrench in the Republican toolbox for eight years now was something the “genius,” Karl Rove, stole from a nursery tale, the story of “The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf.” Every time there’s an election, Mr. Bush and Friends, Inc. have found a wolf ” conveniently provided by the amorphous al-Qaida, then Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction, and now, a “Banker’s Coup,” a last ditch effort to scare the hell out of us in which every top official in the Bush government has gone on the TV to sincerely warn that, unless we sign a blank check to Henry Paulson to spend as he personally wishes, buying worthless bank paper from his cronies on Wall Street, the sky will fall and the worldwill end. If “we the people” approved this, they were home free.
The House of Representatives found this demand, made literally with a gun at their collective heads, so odious that they rightly rejected it. And guess what? The sun came up this morning. The sky is still in place. The Treasury spent the money anyway ” we’re all deeper in debt ” and the markets and credit system still have to settle the $450 trillion in bad paper that they sold each other ” but the formal approval, the legitimacy, sought to pass the blame for what will be seen as the greatest bank robbery in history, was denied those who would have had us grant them immunity for their roles in their final looting of the national treasury before leaving office and their immunity from possible prosecution.
No doubt tough times are still ahead, but at least we the people didn’t agree to fund them this time. America now knows who’s looted the till and they didn’t get our consent. Knowing this, that our fragile democracy managed to pull off one shining moment after eight years of capitulation, makes the sunrise today, with the sky still in place around it, quite lovely.
Bill Sepmeier is a Sweetwater resident. E-mail comments about this column to email@example.com.
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