Shame on the Senate and shame on the Congress, but mostly shame on Senator McCain. The more I listened to the news last week the angrier I felt myself getting. For over a week before the second vote in the Congress we had been hearing about the Bailout, how we must bite the bullet and pass this legislation. Our economy was crashing. It was not just Wall Street. This crisis would affect main street, the average guy. It will affect our ability to buy cars and houses, and it would affect small businesses’ ability to maintain their businesses keep product on the shelf or grow, and some might not even make payroll. Oh the horror! Just look at how the stock market is falling.
Congress grew the three page original bill to 108 pages but rejected the bailout anyway. The fact that the calls and e-mails from the congressmen’s various constituents were 90% against the bailout might have had just a little something to do with it. Still the DOW fell 777 points. But the next day, wonder of wonders it bounced back by 485 points. Then the Senate started talking about drafting their own version. The Market basically stayed neutral, dropping only 19 points. They grew the bill to 451 pages and passed it. The DOW fell 348 points. Then Friday Congress passed the Senate’s 451 page bailout package and the president signed it into law immediately. What did the Market do? It dropped another 157 points. And, has continued to decline. Not exactly what we were expecting.
Only after the bill was law did we begin to hear inklings of the truth that the bailout might not really stop the recession; it just won’t be as bad as it would have been. And of course, it will take a little while for this legislation to take effect. And you know, some damage is just not reversible. Of course, none of that was said before the government and the media tried to scare people into going against their gut feelings about the bailout, even changing what they were calling it to a “rescue package“. People’s life savings, wages, homes, and businesses were threatened. Even so, the NO calls coming into Washington out numbered the YES calls. But did they listen? NO! Instead they filled the rescue package with pork in order to buy the votes they needed. What kind of a rescue is that.
Senator McCain has lost my vote. The man who promised, “As President I will veto every bill filled with pork and will make those who fill bills with pork famous.” The man who indicated that filling the bailout bill with port would be unconscionable. The man who says he stands for smaller government voted for the bailout which gives government more control, not less, and very little outside of government oversight. That man voted for this bill. He insisted it was necessary if only a tourniquet. He did not even apologize for the garbage that found its way into the bill in the form of earmark bribes. Why does the American taxpayer need to subsidize wooden arrow makers, and not just any old wooden arrow makers but specific ones who live in Oregon? Why do we need to bailout Alaskan fishermen or NASCAR track builders, Puerto Rican rum makers or DC and Indian Reservation investors? And, who knew the American Film Industry was in such trouble. Evidently the Senate thought it was for producers can now deduct production costs up to $15 million dollars. Does any of this make sense?
In case you do not get it let me explain something about pork. Pretend each of your Senators manage to get a penny for your state in the form of pork put into a bill someone else wanted passed and they promised to favor. Later in order for their legitimate bill to get passed your senators allow it to be filled with pork to “pay back” other senators. In other words your senators are promising 100 pennies worth of pork in their bill. 100 pennies you will have to come up with as a taxpayer. The two pennies you got suddenly do not look as shiny. You might expect a three year old to be fooled–”I’ll give you these two shiny pennies for your one crumpled dollar.”–but the American taxpayer should not be.
In addition to the pork this bill was stuffed with, Senate bill 558 was also slipped into the package. To give you a clue the title of that bill was the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. The cost of this bill in 2009 was estimated as $1.5 billion dollars. This cost would increase to $3.4 billion dollars by 2013. That means it will more than double in just four years. The justification? Well, it already passed the Senate and this was just a way to get it more quickly passed the Congress. Is your confidence in government increasing?
If you are not angry enough already let me list a few other items found in the bailout bill. How does a $15,000 dollar tax credit for the purchase of a plug-in vehicle sound? Or subsidies for biodiesel and tax credits for small wind properties, geothermal heat pump systems, and electricity produced from marine renewables? The last item I will mention is the 3.2 billion dollars over six years that the bill promises to secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Programs. Do not let the name fool you. This provision establishes stewardship objectives that enhance forest eco-systems, controls noxious and exotic weeds and enhances soil productivity.
Please do not get me wrong. I am not saying we have no responsibility to the mentally ill or the environment. I am saying these items do not belong in this bill. The senators and congressmen who voted for this bill should be ashamed of themselves, including both presidential candidates. And taxpayers everywhere should be mad as hell! Every person running for office who voted for this bill should lose their office. Sadly that is not possible at the top since both Senator McCain and Senator Obama voted for the bailout.
I will not vote for either candidate. I can afford a protest vote because I live in a state that is solidly red. Others need to make their choices based on different criteria. But whatever you decide to do let your representatives know how angry you are. Tell Washington you will be watching. Whatever you do, do not give up. Do not lose your voice. Instead increase your diligence. Keep track of what is happening in Washington and VOTE!