As you may know, the Congress is in session this weekend, as all sides continue to debate an economic bailout plan. While we all agree that something needs to be done to stabilize the financial and credit markets, we disagree over the best way forward. That’s why I want to explain my position, and outline the principles that I believe should guide any final agreement.
Over the past week, I have convened daily meetings with members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus to develop a set of principles which will ensure that any recovery effort benefits not only Wall Street investment banks, but working family as well. We have laid out these principles directly to our party’s leadership in face to face meetings, and now I want to share them with you.
At the heart of our proposal is the belief that the same Wall Street speculators and investors who are responsible for not only causing, but profiting from this crisis must now be required to pay for it. This burden cannot fall entirely on taxpayers. That’s why we’ve proposed reinstating a small surcharge (equal to one quarter of one percent) on all stock trades and more exotic financial transactions. Such a proposal, which is similar to one that already exists on the London Exchange, would offset the cost to taxpayers by raising approximately $150 billion a year. In addition, any company that receives public funding must be banned from giving golden parachutes to their top executives. This is tax payer money, and I won’t stand for it being used to profit the very people who caused this mess.
Secondly, before we spend a dollar of taxpayer money we must ensure that any final proposal has proper oversight and accountability. In addition to strengthening regulatory oversight, we must phase in this funding, providing an initial investment of around $150 billion to last us until the next President is inaugurated in January. This will allow the next President to be involved in this process, and to help decide how future installments might be allocated. I question why we should give President Bush and Secretary Paulson access to $700 billion up front, when they’ve been wrong from the start.
I know that many people have questions and concerns about what’s happening right now. In fact, I’ve already heard for over 3,000 residents of Marin and Sonoma counties, almost all of whom are opposed to a proposal that simply bails out Wall Street at taxpayer’s expense.
These are challenging times. However, in the rush to develop a solution to this crisis we cannot put forth a proposal that protects Wall Street, while ignoring Main Street. The American public won’t stand for such a plan, and neither will I.
Includes Action Issue:
Please ask for this plan to be endorsed. Please ask activist entities to circulate petitions. Thanks!