While I am in agreement with the Secretary that the state of the financial markets called for some form of government involvement, I held two serious concerns with his approach. First, I believe this plan would undermine the free market from promoting economic growth. Today, our system rewards innovators and entrepreneurs, but Paulson's plan subsidizes poorly managed companies at the expense of more responsible and competitive companies and the taxpayer. In so doing, this bill represents one of the greatest intrusions of the government into the free market in our history and it is a precedent I fear will be exploited to justify even greater federal intrusion into our own lives. Second, our government does not have the expertise or incentive to run Secretary Paulson's plan effectively or efficiently. Under the terms of the plan, our government would purchase thousands of mortgages and hold them for five years, or more, until the market improves. As it stands now we have neither the manpower nor the knowledge base to purchase, administer and sell mortgages on such a scale. For proof, we have to look no farther than the Recovery Trust Corporation from the Savings and Loan bailout of the 1980's which ultimately cost the taxpayer dearly because of mismanagement and private manipulation. Far too often in recent years people have looked to the
government for answers only to be met with waste and incompetence. We cannot allow that to happen again.
Ultimately, when the bill came before the House of Representatives on September 29, 2008, I joined with the majority of my colleagues to defeat the bill and it failed by a vote of 205-228. While I did not support the bill, I fervently believe that government should take some action to help restore accountability and stabilize our financial market. Not doing so would potentially risk that our credit markets would dry up and middle class Americans would be unable to receive car or home loans and small businesses would not have access to the loans they need to operate. To address these issues, I advocated for a mandatory insurance plan where banks would be required to insure their toxic debt with the government, which would have Wall Street foot the bill for much of their own bailout and greatly reduce the risk to the taxpayer. I also strongly supported raising the FDIC insurance limits to $250,000 to better protect the middle class from bank runs. Additionally, I fought to eliminate
mark-to-market mortgage pricing regulations for banks. This allows homes to be priced based on their long term value and not on recently imposed fair market accounting regulations that have turned mortgages whose owners have never missed a payment into toxic debt because the home is no longer worth the buying price. Moreover, I believe we need to update and more stringently enforce our financial oversight laws to reflect a twenty-first century economy and ensure that crises like this one cannot happen again.
Following the House's failed vote, the Senate passed the same measure, but only after adding more than $110 billion in pork to draw in additional support. These riders are laden with the type of wasteful pork-barrel spending Americans have come to expect, and fear, from Washington, including $192 million for Puerto Rico
and Virgin Islands rum producers, $128 million for auto-racetracks and $148 million for wool producers. Rather than working to forge a compromise that myself and many of my colleagues could accept the Congressional leadership added billions of handouts to Members of Congress as a way to buy their support. I believe that is a betrayal of the citizens we represent. As a result, when the Senate proposal came before the House on October 3rd I voted against the bill. Unfortunately, the bill did pass by a vote of 263-171 and President Bush has signed it into law.
Well, he nailed that one. Both the dems voted FOR it, Boxer doesn't get them all right.
However, there is some value in his lack of restraint: At times, he reports the cold honest truth when no one else would dare to. This is a good example:
Howard Stern Show - 1/10/2008 - Sal Interviews "Obama Supporters" in Harlem
In this clip, "Sal" asks a series of black people if they support Obama just because he is black or because of his stance on the issues. They all reply that it doesn't matter to him that he is black. Sal then asks them to confirm that they support the issues by reading a few, but he actually reads off points from the McCain campaign platform which Obama directly opposes. He even asks if they have any concern that Sarah Palin will become the vice president under Obama. They all report being perfectly happy supporting "Obamas" "right to life", "stay the course in Iraq" and "Sarah Palin" platform.
Not only are they supporting Obama only because he is black, they are also totally unaware of the issues and which candidate supports which issue. Black racism against whites, however it may be justified, is very real. I don't blame them. But not knowing the issues is inexcusable.
Was it racist of Stern to report this and of me to mention it here? Perhaps. Probably even. But in my mind the point is this: The blue blood, blue hair, little old ladies would do exactly the same thing if you asked them why they supported McCain; "oh no, not because he's white and Obama is black, I strongly feel that women should have the right to choose, we should get out of Iraq, and Joe Biden will make a great Vice President"
We've already seen this sort of disconnection in the women who called Obama an Arab and those who shouted "Kill Obama" and racial slurs at McCain rallies. The whites are scared to death of a black man in the white house. Who will protect the interns?
The difference in this election will be who votes. If the blacks actually go out and vote, Obama will win. If the young white people, who were not raised with the same hatred and fears now carried by most older people, actually go and vote, Obama will win. If the progressives and liberals, young or old, like myself, who actively try to suppress racism, actually go and vote, Obama will win. The problem is that few of those people have bothered to vote historically. Young people, "minorities" (not so minor), and mild liberals quite often don't bother.
The blue hair set ALWAYS votes. They are just as racist, just as unaware of the issues, and just as incapable of making a good decision, but they always vote.
Despite the polls, and despite my most fervent wishes and hopes, I'm still predicting McCain will win.
"President Bush met with John McCain and Barack Obama. John McCain showed up without running mate Sarah Palin, which is a shame because she actually has a lot of experience with financial matters. You know, she lives right next to a bank." --Jimmy Kimmel (I had to think about that one for a second before I got it, but it's funny as heck...)
"Political experts are saying that to succeed in the vice presidential debate, Sarah Palin needs to show that she has the same concerns as everyday Americans. For instance, Palin planned to start the debate by saying she's really troubled by John McCain's choice for vice president." –Conan O'Brien
"Have you been watching the Sarah Palin interview with Katie Couric on the 'CBS Evening News'? Pretty interesting. Sarah Palin could not remember the name of a newspaper or a magazine that she reads. And I was thinking, wow, we could possibly have a leader of the country who doesn't read. And then I thought, well, hell it's worked pretty good for George Bush." --David Letterman
"Sarah Palin, you know, was at the U.N. yesterday, and she was a big hit. She's over there meeting all of the world leaders. She's still learning who the world leaders are. Right now, she thinks that Warren Buffett is the head of Margaritaville." --David Letterman
"Speaking of Sarah Palin, she said she's a life-long member of the National Rifle Association. Which may explain why she's in favor of shotgun weddings." --Conan O'Brien
"Everybody is trying to find out more about Sarah Palin. Someone was able to hack into Sarah Palin's Yahoo! email account because she hadn't taken the proper security measures. Yeah. So, folks, it's official. No one in the Palin family uses protection." --Conan O'Brien
Ok, not stop laughing and go check out the hard cold (and documented) facts:
My pesonal "favorites" are:
0: the actual amount of time Palin spent in Iraq during a 2007 visit to the region, despite the McCain campaign's claim she had visited the Iraq battle zone. She never made it beyond the Khabari Alawazem Crossing in Kuwait. (Source)
2006: the year in which Palin declared she favors abstinence-only education and that "the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support" (Source)
2008: the year in which Palin's 17-year-old daughter was impregnated by a self-described "f***ing redneck," who wrote on his MySpace page "I don't want kids" and "ya f*** with me I'll kick ass" (Source)