Saturday, November 15, 2008

Stop Bush's Pillage of the US Treasury and Tax-Payers Now!: Time for Congress to ACT to Defend the Constitution and the Economy

From The Great Crisis of 2008:

Bush & Co. can still do great damage to our nation's economy and seriously cripple its potential for recovery under an Obama administration, as Naomi Klein has argued this weekend (at the Miami Book Fair) in her excellent discussion (broadcast on BookTV) of the way the Bush administration is using the "shock" of the current financial crisis and the "bailout" to continue to loot our nation's Treasury, as their parting gift to the nation.

While President Bush is lamely attempting to use this weekend's G20 summit to warn against any major efforts at reform of the financial system, and to cover up his culpability for administering the bad policies that delivered us into this crisis, the people of the US and the rest of the world have pulled back the curtain to reveal his administration as the bad wizard that has been using the ideology of the free market to manipulate the world's political economy for the interests of the most powerful and wealthy.

And now that the world-embracing confidence game has been revealed, the Bush administration is trying to make sure--as it is forced to turn over the reigns of power--that those who next come into power will be as crippled and limited as possible in their efforts to repair the harm done by the past years of maladministration and ill-gotten gain.

Unless Congress under Pelosi and Reid IMMEDIATELY converts the next few weeks of the "lame duck" session of Congress into an EMERGENCY session dedicated to taking swift and decisive action to STOP the corrupt Bush administration's looting of our nation's economy, through a misuse of its crisis financial authority at the end of its term that parallels the misuse of its war authority at the beginning of its term, the potential an Obama administration might have for repairing the damage will quickly disappear in the next few weeks, evern before Obama enters office.

If the Obama administration is to have any ability to repair the financial and political damage of the last decades of disastrous policy, a supine Democratic-led Congress must learn how to stand up NOW to prevent any additional looting of the national Treasury by requiring that any additional Treasury funds provided to 'bail out' the bad decisions of corporations and executives be tied to strict standards of accountability and oversight, including requirements similar to those of Britain that require banks using such funds to provide loans to the citizens whose tax dollars are bailing them out.

The policy of the lame-duck Congress, if it wishes to preserve any potential for an Obama administration to repair the harms of the past, should be direct and simple, and loud and clear:

If the banks do not wish to provide loans to citizens, then the banks should not be eligible for tax-payer-funded bailouts! Britain understood this, and wrote such a requirement into the law that provided Treasury funds to British banks, but the Bush administration, which seeks to protect the privileges of unrestrained power to continue to rob tax-payers in order to make the wealthy wealthier, prefers to preach the virtues of unfettered capitalism to the G20 so it can continue to protect a corrupt financial system that robs the needy for the profit of the rich and powerful. This is how the Bush administration understands freedom and the market, and has terribly corrupted the meaning of both.

If Congress does not immediately act to stop even more harm from being done in the waning days of this corrupt administration, then this "lame duck" Democratic Congress will be guilty not only of complicity with the bad policies of the last two years, but will be responsible for selling out the Obama administration before it even takes office.

Let's hope that in the next few days Pelosi, Reid, and the entire Democratic Congress will learn the lessons of this election and pay heed to the demands of the American people for change NOW. If Pelosi, Reid, and Congress fail to act even now to put an immediate halt to the criminal corruption of the political process that continues to allow tax-payer dollars to be used to bail out the rich and powerful, without accountability or appropriate oversight, then Pelosi, Reid, and the rest of the Congress will be as guilty as the Bush administration for the national disaster that stems from this failure to act decisively and clearly to bring the terrible abuses of the Bush administration to an end, for once and for all.

As Klein has written in her most recent article in The Nation:
Despite all of this potential lawlessness, the Democrats are either openly defending the administration or refusing to intervene. "There is only one president at a time," we hear from Barack Obama. That's true. But every sweetheart deal the lame-duck Bush administration makes threatens to hobble Obama's ability to make good on his promise of change. To cite just one example, that $140 billion in missing tax revenue is almost the same sum as Obama's renewable energy program. Obama owes it to the people who elected him to call this what it is: an attempt to undermine the electoral process by stealth.
For both the Democratic Party and the incoming Obama administration, as well as the country, silence and supine inaction in the face of the continuing outrages of the Bush administration against both the nation's political economy and Constitution are no longer an option.

Either the Congress and Obama must begin to fulfill their constitutional oversight responsibilities NOW, or Obama's acceptance of the promise to "protect and defend" the Constitution on Inauguration day on January 20, 2009 may end up being as hollow as it is unachievable.

Again, to quote Naomi Klein, who wrote before the election:
This duplicity is a political opportunity. Whoever wins the election on November 4 will have enormous moral authority. It should be used to call for a freeze on the dispersal of bailout funds—not after the inauguration, but right away. All deals should be renegotiated immediately, this time with the public getting the guarantees.

It is risky, of course, to interrupt the bailout process. The market won’t like it. Nothing could be riskier, however, than allowing the Bush gang their parting gift to big business—the gift that will keep on taking.
Also see Naomi Klein's articles:
The Bailout Profiteers
The Bailout: Bush's Final Pillage


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