I say THROW the system out and start building one that WORKS for US, don't bail the failed, corrupt system out. A bailout just keeps in place a bad system that has bankrupted all of us in order to enrich a very, very few.
Example: The CAUSE of this was corporate corruption of our political system. The deregulation, bankruptcy bill, oil company favoritism, "free" trade agreements that caused massive trade and job deficits, cronyism, etc. happened because corporate money was used to buy the political system. SO a bailout should prohibit ANY use of corporate funds to influence the political system in ANY way. This includes giving money to organizations like Heritage Foundation, Cato, CEI, DLC and the hundreds of other corporate front groups that influence our politics and our thinking.
Example: Why bail out the very people who caused this mess? Any company receiving a dime of bailout money from the taxpayers should agree to certain terms that benefit the taxpayers. Their taxes on any profits should be doubled or tripled for ten or twenty years. Their management should not be allowed to receive pay that is above ten times the American average. They should agree to start retrofitting their companies to be carbon-neutral. I can think of a hundred other things they should have to agree to.
Example: Lots of people have run up debt and can't pay their credit card bills because wages have not been going up, jobs are being outsourced, etc., while a few people at the very top of the system are getting vast, vast income and wealth out of the current system. SO reforming the system and imposing very high taxes of 90% or more on high incomes above, maybe $2 million, and using this money FOR THE PEOPLE should be a part of a bailout. These high taxes remove the INCENTIVE to lie, cheat and steal. They remove the reason a few people have been gaming the system. And with a 90% top tax rate hedge fund managers would STILL bring in $300 million a year. Think about that.
Example: Lots of people can't pay their mortgages and credit card bills because of health care costs. Completely reforming the health care system to provide everyone with health care would cost VASTLY less than this trillion-dollar bailout. SO a national health care system should be ONE component of a bailout.
These are just a few ideas for approaching any bailout. I have more. ALL of us would have many, many more if we get the time to think about it. And THIS is why they are trying to force this to happen immediately - THIS WEEK. If we get a chance to take a breather and think about what we're doing -- giving them all the rest of the money the country has -- we might have time to see a better way to proceed. They DON'T want that.