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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

While I agree that "We the People" should express our outrage to Washington, to think that our leaders will find a way out of this mess is a pipe dream. The politicians and bureaucrats can't manage anything, and they will find a way to make this situation worse too.

I pity the folks that are retiring next week or next month that have 401(k)s. At least they will receive a pittance from Social Security that won't come anywhere near what they contributed over the years. It won't be there for me if and when I get to retirement age, because the pols have already looted it.

I guess I will just keep working and grinning like a fool as we continue to get screwed.

John Terry Kingery

Brandon, FL

Sep 23 2008 - 5:00pm

Web Letter

I have written this same letter hundreds of times with no answers. I hope someone with a more powerful voice than mine will read this and spread it around. This whole "financial crisis" is a bunch of crap. If you really have a grasp of finances then you already know this. There is an easy fix that is not a fast one like the current administration wants. There is no need for one. I know you are thinking right now that I am crazy, but hear me out. I have a five-part solution that helps everyone without killing our economy and will reduce our debt by 75 percent in fifteen years if done right.

First is the so-called "financial crisis." I don't know what kind of crap they are trying to pull. Oh, just so you know: I am 33, married with two kids, and make $40,000 a year, so no, I am not a McCain clone. I almost lost my house last year and got blessed with a new job, and I am still trying to catch up.

We need to not give any of this money to the financial institutions directly. Not a dime, instead we need to help to those people who are currently in default on their loans that are in, are approaching foreclosure or have already been foreclosed, due to direct impact of predatory loans. If they just don't pay their payments 'cause they refuse to work, then screw' em. Bring their loan up to date. What this will do is keep hundreds of thousands of people from losing a home and eliminate the so-called "trash paper" crap mortgages our brilliant Secretary of the Treasury called them, by mandating that if the company accepts this money, then they are obligated to re-term the loan of the customer to a thirty-year fixed-rate loan at today's rates. This will put a real steady capital flow into these companies over thirty years that will be stable if they comply. This will also give a family a chance to budget and a way to possibly start saving and investing again creating more capital. This is a lot less expensive than the stuff they want now. All this equals a market security that people can trust.

douglas briand

Lake Wales, FL

Sep 22 2008 - 11:07pm

Web Letter

Oh let me count the ways I love thee, Bailout!
How loverly your eyes, the future beckons.
I wagered in Vegas, I went broke,
I cheated everyone, including the house,
now the City of Vegas is bailing me out,
I'm running straight back to the tables!
Oh what a scam
oh what a nation of sheeples.

Vote WHITE-VAN AUKEN for revolutionary change

michael roloff

www.roloff.freehosting.net<br />Seattle, WA

Sep 22 2008 - 10:44pm

Web Letter

I hope that readers will contact their Congressional representatives andsenators to voice their opinions on this bailout. I have been sendingmine comments like the ones below. We have one shot at getting this oneright so that the financial system can be stabilized such that theeconomy doesn't take a big hit. While we don't need revenge on thepeople who made this mess, they need to be put in a position where theydo not profit significantly from it.

"The taxpayers will be taking over the role of liquidity provider in themarkets through the RTC-style entity that is likely to emerge from thisweekend's negotiations. It is clear that a combination of incompetenceand hubris have allowed poor quality assets to be multiplied many timesthrough leverage. Wall Street has proven to be unfit to self-regulate.The Wall Street executives need to have adults in the room with them toprevent them from acting like reckless teenagers.

"The taxpayers will need to pay sufficient money for these assets sothat the bailed-out companies will have sufficient liquid capital tosurvive and grow. The price will likely need to be substantially higherthan Merrill Lynch's asset fire sale price of 22 cents on the dollar. Ineffect, the taxpayer will have become an investor in the firms. Thisshould be recognized by providing the new RTC with shares in thecompanies that dump their illiquid assets commensurate with the amountof capital provided in addition to the transfer of the illiquid assets.This dilution of the investors' holdings should serve as a warning tofuture generations that there is no free lunch while reducing the riskto taxpayers.

"Similarly, much of the problem was caused by executives being rewardedfor short-term results with little penalty for long-term failure.Companies that participate in the bailout should agree to executivecompensation and severance packages that are based on financial resultsover a number of years, say 5 or 6 years. Rolling averages of financialresults over two or more years could be used as the basis fordetermining the bonus amounts with payouts vested over several moreyears requiring continuing adequate financial success to collect thefull amount. Good executives can still take home a fortune over time,but poor ones will not.

"Finally, regulation must be put in place to limit leverage across all ofthe types of entities that have been imploding. We now have hard data onwhat levels of leverage are acceptable and what are not."

Raymond D'Hollander

Fayetteville, NY

Sep 22 2008 - 2:54pm

Web Letter

I am so relieved to see William Greider calling for people to stand up, speak out and call our government to account regarding the current economic bailouts. At the same time, I think he stops short in identifying the full ramifications of the government assumption of control of our economy. His recommendation of what needs to be done doesn't address the political threat we face. This threat has been named fascism in the undercurrents leading up to this crisis. First there was Aaron Russo's film Freedom to Fascism, then there is Naomi Wolf's book The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. Both Russo and Wolf reveal signs that our nation is heading down the path to Fascism. I personally prefer to call it collective corporatism rather than Fascism, yet, I recently picked up The Struggle Against Fascism in Germany, by Leon Trotsky, just to see if these two alarmists were accurate. I was further alarmed to find in the introduction to this book that it is universally agreed by researchers of this era that if the middle class had resisted the government takeover of the German economy during the economic crash that occurred in 1930 Germany, the rise of fascism would have been diffused.

Greider is right, We the People must raise our voices in outrage. We must demand that our government hold to the ideals of accountability and consequences. We the People are not responsible for Wall Street's debacle. At the same time, Greider is ignoring the reality that opening the door to government control of the economy is opening the door to authoritarian government. No, thank you. Greider is right to call for stipulations and regulations. We also need to demand decentralization of the money power. This crisis is an opportunity to return to a monetary system that more closely resembles the constitutional mandate. That is a monetary system that gives states oversight of currency creation. Decentralized currency creation would diversify enterprise development. Decentralization would diffuse the authoritarian path our nation is on.

Mary T. Ficalora

Avail Press<br />Agoura Hills, CA

Sep 21 2008 - 11:03pm

Web Letter

The present financial crisis exposes the corrupt practices of the international credit-rating agencies, which directly contributed to the both the global meltdown and now the US taxpayer-funded bail out. This might have been prevented, had the SEC acted on the request in 2005 by the Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress to investigate the wrongful practices of the rating agencies. The SEC again failed to act in early 2007. In the face of the enforcement failure by the SEC and the global spread of the credit markets contagion, the European Union has acknowledged a responsibility to impose some degree of supervision over the unregulated activities of the credit rating agencies.

William Terrence

New York, NY

Sep 21 2008 - 10:01pm

Web Letter

This is one of times that will define us as a civilization. This is the time for the president, senators McCain and Obama, speaker Pelosi and majority leader Reid to show some real leadership. To show that they deserve the trust that has been given to them. We need them to pull their allies together in an effort to pass the bailout plan that is best for all Americans--on both Wall Street and Main Street. No amendments to help a specific party. No tactics to force one candidate or another into a corner. No earmarks to help a specific representative with re-election. This is the time for good, honest negotiations. What do you think? Are they up for it?

Mark Kern

according2mark.com<br />Winchester, KS

Sep 21 2008 - 7:49pm

Web Letter

I just saw a Paulson interview. There are no controls on this bailout. It leaves Paulson in total and complete control of the flow of monies wIthout any accounting. He also said things that scared the living beejesus out of me, like, "We must do this now right away." He sounded like a used car sales salesman. You got to buy this now. There are three old ladies and the man down the street who want this. This beauty is going to be gone tomorrow. He sounds like he is taking advantage of an economic crises to increase the power of the fed. I don't think this guy knows crap.

JAMES PINETTE

Caribou, ME

Sep 21 2008 - 6:54pm

Web Letter

If this were $7 million it'd still be a scandal, paying pork to huge corporations and getting nothing in return. But we're talking $700 billion! What could we get instead?

Here's one thing: We could hand out a housing voucher for $12,000 to every home-owning (35 million) and every renting (25 million) family in the US with income under $50,000! That's how much $700 billion is! Would that help? (Or $17,500 to every home-owning and renting family with income under $35,000.) And since every family wouldn't need it, there'd be even more to go around.

Could a bottom-up solution work better than top-down?

Also, note that Nader has made similar points: "For Chrysler, the government received stock warrants, so when the company recovered, government made a $400 million profit. What happens today is people bow to what big business asks for without conditions whatsoever. He's [Nader's] opposed to unconditional bailouts like this one," according to a spokesperson, in "Nader, Barr & Paul: 'Told you so.' "

Bill Fenwick

New York, NY

Sep 21 2008 - 5:34pm

Web Letter

The bailout is just another example--and what a fantastic one!--of corporate America's raid on the public coffers under this administration. To tell the average American he will be negatively affected if the bailout does not take place is hogwash. The average American whose paycheck bleeds money every week to the Fed--and who can't feed his family--has no investment in Wall Street. His investment is in the Fed, and that investment is going to be turned over to to Wall Street on a silver platter. The average American has nothing to lose by letting these thieves bite it. Nothing at all. The bailout is his loss and their gain. Wake up, America-- Paulsen is a frat boy!

Cathy Gontar

New Orleans, LA

Sep 21 2008 - 12:53pm