Memo to President Bush, the Presidential Candidates, and Members of Congress
From: Citizen Donna Marie Williams
RE: My Taxpayer Rescue Plan
When it comes to the current economic crisis, there is no such thing as a democrat, republican, or independent. As you know, many democrats agree with republicans and vice versa on the best way to resolve this matter.
Partisan politics makes me sick. It's fake. It's about winning the rhetorical debate, not telling the truth. Cut it out.
The Taxpayer Rescue Plan
I'm not an economist or accountant, so I don't know enough to go into a lot of detail about the current economic mess. I do know, though, that the framing of the debate has been all wrong.
You call it a bailout plan when it really should be a taxpayer rescue plan. Only lip service has been paid about the taxpayer (a.k.a. Main Street), when it's the taxpayer who should be the focus of this recovery since it’s taxpayer dollars that’s coming to the rescue.
The taxpayer/consumer is the heart and soul of the economy.
The hell with Wall Street. The hell with Fannie, Freddie, AIG, WaMu, Wachovia, and the others to come down the road. Let them fold or be bought out. It's clear that we're witnessing the greatest flea market in history, and the result will be a consolidation of power. Fewer banks, investment firms, etc. will hold more of our money. I don’t like it, but I get it.
For once, since it's our money, let taxpayers get in on the action. In my plan, the taxpayer is the centerpiece of the recovery. Not the companies, not the banks. Not the privately held Federal Reserve. And definitely not the CEOs and their political cronies. Put them under the jail.
The following are the broad strokes of my taxpayer rescue plan. I’m sure I’ve left some things out, but you guys can sort through the details upon agreement that the premise is sound.
1. Taxpayer dollars must strengthen the following pots: FDIC, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and public education. I like the idea of raising the FDIC limit on protected accounts to $200,000. The taxpayer must come first.
2. Accountants must go through the books of the failed companies line by line. The purpose of this exercise is to locate and rescue all the pension funds. We must make sure that the pension promises that were made to our parents, grandparents, and future retired selves are kept. No compromise. Allow financial institutions that have been excellent stewards to bid for and take over these pension accounts.
3. If we bail out the failed, corrupt companies (which I don't want to do), then the taxpayer must become a voting shareholder (via referendums?) of the corporations. After a reasonable amount of time, taxpayers will begin to receive dividend checks. For the first time in the history of this country, the wealth will be spread out among the taxpayers as it should be. This is not welfare, socialism, or communism. This is economic reciprocity. If we have to pay, then in due time we must receive a return on our investment.
My approach will take time, but better that than to hurry up and sign a bill that will put future generations in further back-breaking debt. Better that than to pull an arbitrary number ($700 billion) out of thin air. Under my plan, we'll get a handle on how much is truly at risk first, then disburse the funds to minimize taxpayer risk.
4. There must be meticulous oversight of the process. One man cannot be allowed to allocate dollars as he sees fit. Too much money makes psychopaths of us all. Instead, I strongly recommend that a consortium of independent accounting firms takes over the process of assessment, disbursement, oversight, and shareholder/taxpayer payouts. It’s not a perfect system because we know how Arthur Anderson was a player in the Enron mess, but we’ve got to start somewhere. Maybe also include an ethics advising committee of some sort.
5. Yes, predatory subprime lending was a factor in the collapse. It's so easy to blame the working poor and middle class, but what about the fact that housing prices have been overinflated for years? Home ownership is part of the American dream, yet with sky high prices, the working poor and middle class didn't stand a chance until subprime. Take a holistic look at the industry—for example, redlining and the over inflation of property assessments. Many factors go into establishing housing prices, and it's not an exact science. There's a lot of room for creativity, if you know what I mean. Anyone who has attempted to purchase a home knows this to be true. Look into the myriad of practices, not just subprime lending, that has corrupted the entire industry.
6. And another thing: the rules and regulations of the credit industry suck. I hate how, when you're applying for a loan, the mere inquiry goes against your credit rating. You need to fix all those laws that hurt the taxpayer. Also, your corporate benefactors exported most of our manufacturing base overseas. That really didn’t help the situation at all. Not only are they exploiting people in developing nations with slave wages, you let our own people down. And stop selling off our highways and ports. Are you crazy? And why can’t Ford sell their 65 mpg car to
I'm acutely aware that my plan will bring more pain and suffering in the short term. Thousands, maybe millions, will lose their jobs. I'm so sorry about that, but that's what happens when a nation makes mammon its god and when we trust psychopaths to handle our money for us.
I truly doubt if the plan Congress is mashing together will save jobs or rescue taxpayer dollars. Why? Because the taxpayer is not the focus. Facilitating the consolidation of corporate power is the focus. At least my plan stands a chance of true economic recovery because the rescue mission is targeted where the true danger lies: within the solvency of the American taxpayer.
As a communications strategist, I've been downsized, laid off, and let go more times than I can count. When it first happened, I was terrified. The last time it happened, I was a homeowner with major surgery pending. I went into foreclosure, then filed chapter 7, which went completely against my moral code, my sense of personal responsibility. As a single mother with two children to take care of, I felt at the time that I had no choice.
I learned in my own personal Great Depression that you can’t keep pouring money down the black hole. Recovery takes great discipline and sacrifice, and it is painful. But I’m a witness, you do come out better and unencumbered on the other side. You begin to enjoy a freedom you’ve never felt before.
That's it. That's my plan. Again, I'm no financial expert, but that's the taxpayer focus upon which the recovery must be based.
Thank you for your time.
Donna Marie Williams