Blue America Senate Candidates Speak Out On The Bush Regime "Bailout"
Blue America is in the middle of a competition between our five awesome Senate candidates, Andrew Rice (D-OK), Rick Noriega (D-TX), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Tom Allen (D-ME). In our first 24 hours we've had over $4,300 in contributions from 118 people. Today Crooks & Liars has a letter posted from Blue America alum Jon Tester urging his supporters get behind Mark Begich. I was thinking of posting a similar better from one of Jeff Merkley's supporters. But Jeff is way out ahead and I'll hold that letter for now and pass along some comments from our candidates on the latest Bush Regime/Republican Party catastrophe to come down the pike, one whose proposed "solution" is probably worse than the catastrophe itself and one, I'm happy to see, hasn't been embraced by either Barack Obama or the American people.
Andrew Rice is a state Senator in Oklahoma City dealing, in a less removed way than Washington politicians, with the everyday travails of everyday people. Like his constituents, he's growing increasingly concerned with GOP ideology getting in the way of a non-political commonsense approach to basic problems the country faces.
"Over the weekend the Bush Administration contradicted their own longstanding ideology and sent Congress a massive $700 billion proposal to bailout financial institutions on Wall Street. What has Jim Inhofe, who's been in Washington for 22 years, done to avert this crisis? Absolutely nothing. And now that we're in this mess, all he said last week when we saw the biggest financial crash since the 1930s was that he'll 'be keeping a close eye on the fallout.'"
"Jim Inhofe is responsible for this mess. George Bush was probably the most successful president since FDR in getting everything he wanted in his economic package passed through congress. Massive tax cuts for the wealthy. Deregulation. Limited Oversight. And Jim Inhofe rubber-stamped it every step of the way. Look where it's gotten us. And all he can offer the people of Oklahoma is "I'll be keeping a close eye on it." The good people of Oklahoma deserve much better than this."
This morning Tom Allen and rubber stamp Republican Susan Collins squared off in Portland in the first of ten debates leading up to Maine's Senate election in November. Tom hammered her on her complicity in every disastrous Bush Regime policy initiative that she has been tied up in-- from the Iraq war and the crises in energy and health care right to the mortgage crisis and the Wall Street meltdown. "I fundamentally disagree with Susan Collins on her support of these policies that have been so harmful to people in Maine. At the fuel pump and the grocery, looking at our 401k statements or watching $12 billion per month go out the door for an endless civil war, we are all feeling the consequences." Collins is in a particularly awkward position because she is the only member of the Maine congressional delegation to support all of the failed Bush economic policies down the line and she is still doing it, even as the economy slides towards the precipice. Tom:
"The Bush Administration's consistent philosophy has been that free markets work but without government regulation. Now we ask, works best for whom? Wall Street Manhattan or Wall Street Portland? Now taxpayers may have to pay as much or more as they've already paid for the war in Iraq for the Bush Republicans' refusal to conduct oversight or accountability."
Allen said it is critical that the bailout package minimize taxpayer exposure, make sure homeowners get a lifeline, include oversight of the Treasury and limits on excessive compensation for executives.
"We need to protect Maine families and small businesses. We have to contain the financial crisis on Wall Street and take action to spur economic activity on Main Street," he added. "We must make sure this never happens again."
"We need a government that works for ordinary families and small businesses, not special interests. This crisis is a vivid illustration of what happens when the federal government refuses to do responsible regulation and oversight of the financial markets. That is exactly what the Bush Administration and its allies like Susan Collins and John McCain have adopted -- policies and positions that have led us to the edge of financial disaster,."
The Bush Administration on Saturday sent a three-page proposal to lawmakers calling for taxpayers to buy $700 billion in mortgages. Some estimates are that a bailout package will reach or exceed $1 trillion. The $700 billion figure is roughly what has been spent to date on the war in Iraq and the annual budget appropriation for the Pentagon. The Bush proposal is the largest financial bailout since the Great Depression.
"The Bush Administration and its allies have put us into a corner where we must bail out these firms. We're going to do that this week and I look forward to working in a bipartisan manner to get that job done. But we should not bail out Wall Street without taking care of Main Street.
"We must address the root causes of the Republicans' failure to do oversight and to regulate our financial markets. We can no longer sit by as corporate America assumes all the profit but wants taxpayers to assume the risk. We need bold corporate reforms for transparency, to reign in compensation, and to strengthen fraud laws."
The ideas widely held by the Bush Administration and its allies like Susan Collins and John McCain that the market will take care of itself without federal regulation and oversight have failed our middle class miserably. Amid a market panic last week, John McCain reiterated for the 17th time his position that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." Chief executive officers presiding over reckless behavior are walking away with millions in compensation while homeowners face foreclosure and watch their retirement investments dwindle.
"We need to change our economic policies in order to strengthen our middle class instead of feeding the superwealthy and big corporations. We must do that - now. And to fix the problem on the longterm, we need new leadership in Washington that will meet the tough challenges with bold solutions. It's time for a change."
This afternoon Jeff Merkley is in Central Oregon talking with working men and women about the bailout. Unlike his multimillionaire opponent-- most recently caught employing scores of undocumented low wage workers in his frozen foods factory-- Jeff's perspective comes straight from the heart of the middle class. "For years, CEOs on Wall Street made millions based on sub-prime mortgages and backroom deals. Today, they still have those millions but taxpayers are the ones paying the price. The bailout may be necessary, but that doesn't mean it's right... American workers have fallen victim to the pervasive greed in the Bush-Smith economy. This week's collapse on Wall Street and news about a trillion dollar bailout is startling news for millions of Americans. What is most troubling and infuriating to many is the idea that powerful special interests have made billions through greed-driven ventures and working families are paying the price."
From his perch on the powerful Finance Committee, Gordon Smith has rubber stamped the Bush policies that have led us to this point. In many ways, he is echoing his friend John McCain about our "strong economy." This is one of the worst financial crises in a century. It is certainly not a symptom of a "vibrant" economy.
...Federal bailouts may be necessary, but that doesn't change the fact that this situation should never have become the crisis it is today. Years of lax government oversight and deregulation directly contributed to the meltdown of financial markets. George Bush, John McCain, and Gordon Smith are all followers of an economic philosophy that has favored the powerful over working class Americans. We are all feeling the effects of that philosophy today and it's just one more reason we need a change and make Washington work for working Americans.
You can vote for your favorite Senate candidate here and the winner will get $5,000 and the runner up $1,000.