If you have not been paying attention to the economy and the bailout you should start bleating like a sheep being led to slaughter. Please take a moment to get involved.
If you are retired or have a few moments at home, and even if you are working full time, it is critical TODAY that you call and email our representatives to express your outrage and determination that we taxpayers should not pay for the bailout of hotshot Wallstreet firms who have been running around the financial playground of our country like a bunch of Wild Boys. They know we are mad, but if you aren't part of the solution, you're asking for it.
Here is an easy site to get your representative's phone number and electronic address/form.
Make no mistake - Wallstreet and Congress created this mess.* Our elected officials looked the other way because there was "prosperity"** and it was easier than making sure the rules were good and being followed. Compensation for the Wallstreet Bad Boys has been so astronomical that it begins to make the Enron scandal look tame.
This blog, by Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor, is one of the best sites for intelligent, concise explanation of how we got into this mess, and what to do to fix it so that We The People are protected. (You can copy and paste his recommendations into an electronic message to Congress, if they make sense to you.)
NPR has a piece here on alternatives to a bailout, and how a similar "bailout" crippled the Japanese economy for a decade.
Here is another good news piece from NPR: It notes that (thank G-d) Congress is wary of the bailout that the Bush Administration is begging for, in their sudden realization that they could be presiding over the worst economic melt down in our country - yes, this crisis will rival the Crash of 1929 in the history books.
What makes me apoplectic is that all this was preventable, and now Bush is using FEAR, the only tool in his arsenal, to try to force us to pay the tab for CEOs and top executives who have made BILLIONS on our backs.
Do not assume that all will be well. It will work out only if there is a serious effort to fix the fundamental issues - transparency from Wallstreet firms, regulations that keep them in line, and a bailout that DOES NOT land on the back of taxpayers without guarantees that only the government can provide.
How ironic that Bush said last night this is "not normal market conditions" yet the market is doing exactly what it is designed to do: punishing those who take extraordinary risks, and while doing so earn higher than normal rates of return.
I am an armchair economist, so if any of you have information to add to this, please comment here.
* Ok, yes, and many of us have taken advantage of the easy credit they offered. Unsecured debt is very bad. Period.