The Financial "Rescue" that Bankrupted America

November 17, 2008

It is the story of our lifetimes: a financial crisis is underway and getting worse. As the recession deepens, our jobs and savings are threatened, and our children and grandchildren will probably live in a country with lower living standards and fewer opportunities than what we have enjoyed. America may be reduced to the status of a second- or third-rate economic power, dependent on international agencies like the International Monetary Fund and Arab governments for investment dollars and foreign aid handouts.

However, the looting of the taxpayers, which was initially $700 billion for Wall Street and has now ballooned to an estimated $1.8 trillion and is not over yet, was not labeled as corruption by our media. Instead, it was called a "rescue" and was demanded by many anchors and reporters. We were told it would stabilize the markets and help ordinary people. It didn't.

Kevin Howley, Associate Professor of Communication at DePauw University, says this was deliberate propaganda on their part. He comments that "...the phrase 'bailout'¯with its connotation that the government is letting Wall Street off the hook for questionable business practices¯has given way to a far more agreeable term¯ 'rescue plan.' This phrasing appeals to the basic decency of the American people and suggests that we're all in this thing together."

In a real-life corruption case, which was just as suspiciously timed as the financial crisis itself, Alaska Senator Ted Stevens was indicted and then convicted in this election year on all seven charges of making false statements on Senate financial documents. One of the charges was that he had received a $1,000 Alaskan sled dog puppy that he valued at only $250 and claimed had come from a charity.

This is chicken feed compared to what the politicians and their appointees have done by bringing the U.S. to the point of bankruptcy. But can we ever expect the Department of Justice to turn on the politicians for these financial crimes? Not likely.

Instead of getting to the bottom of what caused the financial crisis and how it affected the course of the campaign, Fox News Channel's Carl Cameron aired a frivolous attack on GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin on November 5, citing anonymous sources without corroboration as saying that the Alaska Governor didn't know Africa was a continent and that she displayed "temper tantrums" during the campaign. The Cameron report has led to a proposal for a Boycott of Fox News by conservatives. Support for the boycott is running strong on the conservative Free Republic website. 

Cameron spewed "unmitigated hearsay and garbage without one shred of supporting evidence," noted one entry.

Rather than publicize smears of Palin, it might be advisable for Cameron, the chief political correspondent for Fox News, as well as the rest of the media, to find out what happened to Republican presidential candidate John McCain's proposal for "a commission modeled on the government's in-depth investigation of the 9/11 terrorist attack to probe what prompted the financial crisis," as Jonathan Martin of described it in a piece dated September 16. One reason for such a proposal was the rational belief that Democrats, who are in charge of Congress, would have no reason to investigate how they refused to restructure and rein in the irresponsible lending practices of government mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and contributed to the financial crisis. Obama, not surprisingly, rejected the idea of a commission.

"Asked for more details about the proposal, a McCain spokesman said they would be forthcoming," Politico's Martin added at the time. But no details were forthcoming. Then, as we all know, McCain came to Washington, initially sympathized with House conservatives opposed to the bailout, and flip-flopped in support of it.

Was there something that scared him away from his call for a thorough investigation of the financial mess? Did he realize that it might touch his own campaign manager, Rick Davis, who had his own financial ties as a lobbyist to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

"We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us," McCain said in his Republican presidential nomination acceptance speech. That was certainly true in regard to his visit to Washington, D.C., after suspending his campaign, to talk about the proposed bailout. He turned his back on the conservatives (and the public) and voted for the bailout, guaranteeing his defeat on November 4. 

In fairness, it should be noted that other GOP leaders, including all of them in the House¯Reps. John Boehner, Roy Blunt, Adam Putnam, and Eric Cantor, as well as Paul Ryan of the Budget Committee¯voted for the bailout, too. Boehner wants to remain as House Minority Leader while Cantor believes he deserves a promotion to the position of House Minority Whip, the number 2 leadership position. Cantor is reportedly now apologizing in private for his backing of the bailout bill.

Rep. Mike Pence, who is running for chairman of the House Republican Conference, the number 3 leadership post, opposed the bailout. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, chairman of the House Republican Conference Committee, called it "Fleece in our time."

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