Stock markets slid yesterday and into Tuesday as the US Congress adjusted to the new realities of the global economy in the Age of Information, Knowledge, and Technology.
Wall Street reacted badly on Monday losing -372.75 points in anticipation of the United States government rescuing them from their own greed, corporate malfeasance, lack of transparency, and financial criminality.
Apparently, Wall Street was surprised to learn how the federal government that they have spent so much money over the past few decades trying to buy off works. An uncomfortable and expensive lesson no doubt.
As the US Congress moves forward with careful deliberation and due judgement, acting on behalf of the American people and in the public interest, there are some pragmatic, commonsense principles which are reasonable to include in any legislation:
1. all entities having access to any US funds must declare their assets, debits, and net worth in a complete and thorough accounting statement;
2. all assets forfeited are the property of the people of the United States of America;
3. clear and direct conflict of interest rules must be established for the handling, review, and distribution of assets;
4. appropriate checks-and-blances must be included in any legislation prior to passage that clearly spells out what entities or institutions maintain responsibility for oversight, scope of authority, and powers with respect to the disposition of assets;
5. bankruptcy courts must be given authority and flexibility to renegotiate the terms of any mortgages and any other credit contracts in order to assist consumers who are unable to pay under current terms and changed financial and/or economic conditions;
6. payouts of Chief Executive Officers of any failed institution or business ought to be limited to $250,000 plus ordinary benefits;
7. an independent tribunal with prosecutorial powers to investigate, charge, and try financial executives, corporate officers, and corporate employees for abuse, criminality, and/or fraud leading to the current crisis must be created in order to restore public confidence by reassuring that consequences attend actions;
8. an appropriate mechanism for independent judicial review and appeal must be established to ensure due process and equal protection of the laws of the United States with respect to any parties and actions subject to authority granted under the legislation.
These eight practical, commonsense provisions ought to be included in any legislation.
Particularly important is suggestion #5, the power of bankruptcy judges to renegotiate all credit and mortgage contracts.
Because it is at the heart of the current crisis, failure to ammend the authority of the bankruptcy courts only exacerbates the long-term problem which is both moral and economic.
The unquenchable thirst of greedy profiteers to squeeze the very last dime out of ordinary, hardworking Americans is an abuse that ought to be punishable, discouraged, and corrected.