As the pace quickens in Washington around the terms of a proposed bail out of Wall Street, we will try to keep you informed with both talking points and details in this fast-moving highly charged environment. The bottom line is that the legislative package proposed by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson CANNOT be allowed to be the standard to which we agree.
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The good news is that Democrats in Congress and citizens around the country agree and are fighting back. That does not mean that we can relax. In fact, it is essential that those Senators and Representatives with whom we agree hear from us with messages of support and those who still believe that a free market economy and outrageous CEO compensation must still rule the day learn of our ire.
Fact: The legislation proposed by the Treasury that we are being told must pass without amendment is outrageous:
- It would give carte blanche to a single unelected individual, Treasury Secretary Paulson (at least until January 20, 2009).
- The $700 billion bailout proposed is not a one time payment but, instead, a revolving fund which ultimately could cost taxpayers infinitely more.
- As drafted, the bill would place no limits on CEO compensation or retirement packages resulting in their being rewarded for putting the nation in this financial crisis.
Fact: Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) on Sunday put forth a substitute to the Treasury bill which contains important provisions on which all should agree. Below are just some:
- A proposed stimulus for Main Street not Wall Street. There is consensus that the probable vehicle may ultimately be the Continuing Resolution.
- An extension of unemployment benefits.
- An increase in Federal funds going to the states for Medicaid and food stamps.
- Spending on infrastructure.
- A demand for full Congressional oversight.
- A cap on CEO compensation.
- A moratorium on foreclosures.
In the Senate, the Dodd bill not the Treasury bill should be the starting point for any discussions.
Fact: Similar legislation is being discussed in the House. We will let you know more details as we have them. Once again, the Treasury bill cannot be the starting or the ending point.
Fact: While all eyes are on Wall Street, we must continue to remember the people on Main Street who are suffering. Wall Street cannot be the only recipient of a stimulus package. Hard working Americans should be the recipients as well. Congress should attach their proposed $50 billion stimulus package to the Continuing Resolution and demand that - as a condition for the Wall Street bailout - the President sign it.
By the Numbers
For Wall Street:
$85 billion for AIG
$29 billion for Bear Stearns
$700 billion (and counting) for Treasury proposal
For Main Street
$50 billion proposed second stimulus
Salaries and Compensation
$9 million in severance pay, retirement benefits and deferred compensation Platinum Parachute for CEO of Fannie Mae
$14.1 million Platinum Parachute for CEO of Freddie Mac
$47 million Platinum Parachute for AIG's deposed CEO in July
$65 million possible Platinum Parachute for Lehman Brothers CEO
$67.9 million bonus in 2007 for Goldman Sachs CEO (the firm that spawned Secretary Paulson)
$13,600 annual salary for a minimum wage worker in the United States
$30,000 - $50,000 annual salary for a middle class worker in the United States.
Email your Senators and Representative immediately this very clear message: I understand we are facing a crisis which needs quick resolution but I urge you to not be blackmailed into giving Secretary Paulson and Wall Street a blank check. I believe the alternative bill sponsored by Senator Dodd should be our starting point and that ordinary working Americans not the titans of Wall Street should be your focus. You have our full support in this effort. Click here to send this message.
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