By Brent Budowsky - 09/08/08 05:14 PM EDT
The government bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the corruptions that forced it should be a Harry Truman-like issue for Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress.
Sadly, the humongous bailout must happen — but the price should be the truth about why it is necessary, and the terms of reforms that must accompany this gargantuan gift that rewards the corruptions of our age.
Remember the stories not long ago about the giant bonuses on Wall Street for those who speculated for profit while the greatest fraud in the history of banking made them vast sums of money?
Remember the titans of American finance who gave speeches about the glory of what they falsely called capitalism, while their boards voted them huge salaries during this cacophony of incompetence and corruption?
Remember the captains of industry of the world’s largest banking institutions, granted huge wealth for a job well done, while giving speeches about the wonders of laissez-faire, attending conferences in plush locales about the evils of regulation, issuing condemnations of what they called the moral hazard of helping those who hurt as the new “Grapes of Wrath” descended on Middle America?
As American taxpayers assume the burdens of their failure, how much of this money will they return? None. How much of the wealth from these stock options will they give back? Zero. How much of the sacrifice will they bear? None. How much of the Wall Street bonuses will they return? None.
While taxpayers pay the price, they are ordering their Neiman Marcus Christmas catalogs for the latest indulgences that money can buy. While Middle Americans stay up at night with clenched teeth of real fear that they could become homeless, those whose economic policy created this mess now masquerade as born-again mavericks while their leading economic adviser blames Americans first as whiners and complainers, suffering mental disorders because they are hurting.
The pit bulls in business suits and pit bulls in lipstick impose pain on Americans through a Republican economics that now imposes huge costs for the bailout of their failure.
Elections matter. What is at stake in 2008 is whether America continues a policy that glorifies greed without limit and promotes corruption without regulation. It is anything-goes for those who have and tough luck for those who don’t. It is the survival of the fittest in a game that is rigged.
For those who falsely claim to be mavericks, tax cuts flow at the top while body armor for troops stands at the bottom. The role of government is ridiculed while foreign toys poison American kids. $300 billion for the bailout of the banks is needed while a $50 billion stimulus for the heartland of America is called a moral hazard that we cannot afford.
In this Darwinian world of greed without limits, fraud is called the magic of the market. The champions of the status quo are called born-again mavericks. Insider speculation on oil is called capitalism.
Those who choose between freezing and starving are given bread and circuses about pit bulls with lipstick. Churches helping jobless workers are ridiculed because the party of Lincoln believes community service can be demonized, to divide the jobless from the homeless, to divide the hurting against each other.
Elections matter. Enough is enough.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then-chief deputy whip of the House. He can be read on The Hill Pundits Blog and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.