And What to Do Instead: “Just Say No!” to the Robin Hood-in-Reverse Bailout

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By JEFF GIBBS | [print_link]

I’m disappointed and disgusted with my own Republican Party as I watch them attempt to strong-arm a bailout of some of America’s biggest corporations by asking taxpayers to suck up the staggering results of the hubris, greed, and arrogance of those who sought to make a quick buck by throwing the dice.” — Mike Huckabee

Why are conservative Republicans speaking the truth about this Wall Street fiasco but our Democratic leadership acts like sheep herding the flock to the wolves? I was outraged when during the recent debate Senator Obama pegged the war in Iraq at costing us $800 billion and complained how THAT had dangerously sapped our national strength, but then went on to mutter his way through support for a $1 TRILLION raid on our national treasure by Wall Street greed mongers. Obama, Pelosi and Reed are about to hand out to Wall Street and Bush and Company the same unfathomable amount of money we just squandered in Iraq? Holy crap, Batman! I thought. We’d better do something.If this crisis is so profound why have the Dems not floated a single serious alternate proposal? Where are their thinking caps? Are they so in bed with the rich they can’t see the evil in this deal? Don’t they have the stomach to stand up to Wall Street’s threats? Or are they merely being arrogant? (“Can’t give the people options, they will get confused.”) And where are the Trumps, the Gates, and the Waltons with their billions and billions? Where is all the cash the Wall Street execs and their minions have pilfered? Why isn’t that being offered up to solve this problem?           

Pelosi, Reid and Howard Dean: They make even Republicans look principled and good

Here’s a news flash: if Wall Street is REALLY in such dire straits the rich have the money to bail themselves out. I have met the rich and they can give up a house or five or ten, a private jet or two, a yacht here or there, easier than you can afford this. McCain alone could put up the first $100 million and still have $50 million left over. Why aren’t the rich volunteering to “help” Wall Street avert the alleged calamity we are facing? Because they didn’t get rich by paying their fair share or helping others, they got rich by making OTHER people pay. 

So just what is going on and what should we do about? Hell, even me sitting here in Traverse City, Michigan can come up with a few options beginning with JUST SAY NO! to this bail-out boondoggle legislation. Here are some suggestions:      

1) Go after the evil doers

If our economy is truly in peril because of self-serving, manipulative and possibly illegal decisions by greed folks who have abused our faith in them don’t reward them, go after them! Seek out the individuals AND corporations who have profited from these “toxic” instruments and seize their wealth if necessary. Call the police, the FBI, Homeland Security. If we can seize a janitor or a teacher’s home for the “public good” to build a shopping mall, we can take back ill-gotten gains from greedy bastards to save the economy.

2) Make the rich take responsibility

If we MUST have a bailout, why not have the richest Americans—the people who have gained the most from this system—do it? The wealthiest 400 Americans—FOUR HUNDRED PEOPLE! –are worth $1.5 trillion. They could put up the first $250 billion and see how it goes. They could put up the whole $1 trillion and still have a billion dollars each to play with. Or we could have the wealthiest 10% of Americans put up 5% or so of their collective $40 trillion in wealth to save Wall Street. The rich can spare 5%, hell they could spare 90% and still have far more than you and me.

3) Do what the Swedes do

Sweden did not just bail out its financial institutions by having the government take over the bad debts. It extracted pounds of flesh from bank shareholders before writing checks. Banks had to write down losses and issue warrants to the government. That strategy held banks responsible and turned the government into an owner. When distressed assets were sold, the profits flowed to taxpayers, and the government was able to recoup more money later by selling its shares in the companies as well.           

From:  The New York Times.

If the people’s money is used to bail our Wall Street’s greedy excesses, why is no one proposing that the people get a stake in these companies? Why are we not making them swallow their own toxic “products” before loaning them a dime? Why are we not making sure that executives, employees and shareholders don’t profit further from their monumental failure? According to Michael Moore the promised limits are not even present in the current legislation.

5) Open the First National People’s Bank

If our leaders are so worried about you and me being able to borrow money, use the trillion dollars of OUR money to fund our OWN bank, the First National People’s Bank. OUR bank could fund home and auto loans, farmers, and small businesses.

6) Jump start the “trickle up” economy

Use the trillion dollars to put people out of work back to work. That’s what got us out of the great depression. Take care of the people first. Take care of the working people and the money trickles up to the wealthy. That’s the genius of Henry Ford.

7) Use the trillion to fund universal health care

It’s not TAXES that make American businesses non-competitive and on the edge of collapse, it’s that American’s don’t have health care. Ask G.M. and Ford. Instead of welfare for the rich and bombing nations that don’t threaten us to oblivion, why don’t we try providing basic services to our own people?

8) Send Oprah

You know if only those stock brokers and traders and executives were better at visualizing abundance they wouldn’t be in this mess. Why don’t we all send them our old “The Secret” DVD’s since by now we’re all rich and don’t need them anymore? Maybe when Wall Street is finished with them they can send the DVD’s on to Somalia where obviously they have been having trouble with the abundance thing—maybe they are just not in touch enough with how much they deserve it.

9) Believe in capitalism

If the visualizing abundance thing doesn’t work out, let the companies that have been irresponsible fail. Capitalists love survival of the fittest and competition and it’s time to let them have their way.

10) Bail out Lori

My friend Lori is a self-employed single parent. When she got sick last year she had no health care, no disability, no mortgage insurance. Her family has held raffles and fundraisers in bars to help pay for medicines. Lori is now on a breathing machine and can no longer walk. Lori is losing her and her seven-year old son’s house. Last time I checked Lori pilfered money from noone, created no toxic instruments, placed no wagers that the system would go down. Now all she asks is for the medical care she needs to avoid dying, to keep her home, and to feed and cloth her son.   

Senator Obama, please bail out Lori out before you bail out the weathy.

And finally, if you need it, here is another reason to “just say no” to the extortion of Wall Street. There is a very real possibility we’re going to need that trillion dollars. Our globally tightening supply of fossil fuels and hence the rising cost of gasoline, food and heating our homes, rising unemployment, and a whole host of other problems could become life and death this winter for many Americans. Maybe we’d like to be able to help them? And oh yeah, and there’s climate change, which, last time I checked was still on schedule to threaten civilization sometime this century. We might want to look into that.

This reverse Robin Hood deal cannot be allowed to stand. It’s time to take to the streets. “JUST SAY NO! to what Michael Moore is calling the “swindle of the century.” I don’t know about you but today I am calling, emailing and cajoling politicians AND THE MEDIA into stopping this legislation. I am going to email my friends and see what sort of protest we can put together in front of our favorite financial companies offices, or maybe at our congressman’s office, or maybe in front of Obama’s campaign center.    

Jeff Gibbs is a writer, filmmaker and composer living in Traverse City, Michigan.  He was co-producer of “Fahrenheit 9/11” and is currently working on a film about the sorry state of the planet.

2 comments on “And What to Do Instead: “Just Say No!” to the Robin Hood-in-Reverse Bailout
  1. Some interesting ideas; and, if I’m not mistaken, even a bit of tongue-in-cheek medicine–e.g., Oprah and “The Secret.”

    Editorial note: # 4 appears to be M.I.A. above. (Is that the NY Times excerpt?)

    Here’s the problem with most of this: it’s a day late and a dollar short. (Well, maybe 2 yrs late and 700 billion dollars short.)

    Bottom line: you don’t bargain with kidnappers when they’re holding your kid.

    Wall Street and our government is holding our kid(s)–and our parents, grandchildren, teachers, bakers and candle-stick makers. Got them and us by the short hairs. Mr. Gibbs is proposing rational ways to deal with monsters in three-piece suits and with pant-suits and coiffed hair. He thinks the same intermediaries–the slick-talkers, the glad-handers–who delivered us to this gates of hell scenario are now going to lead us away from the chasm. How? Why, they’ll do what’s good for us. They’ll see the light. Enact legislation that actually protects us–protects “we the people” and all that 4th of July hokum. Oh yes, and we the glorious people who have been snookered for decades–debased and abased, we’re suddenly going to rise up in a scene from NETWORK and cry out with Nancy Reagan (transformed into Liberty Leading the People) and “Just say no!”

    Here’s what’s missing: lots and lots of preparation. We can’t expect our congress, our financial institutions, our electoral system to deliver us from this maelstrom. We’re going to have to pay the ransom because if we don’t they’ll kill our kid! What the Left must do now is going to be a lot more difficult than just saying No. We’re going to have to say Yes. We’re going to have to say Yes about educating the masses–seizing the means of communication–the media–on the streets, in the pulpits, in the classrooms, on the Net, TV and radio and start explaining real fast and real clear all the ways in which Capitalism has betrayed the promise of the “experiment of American democracy” and the promise of modernity and “Western civilization” to boot. We’re going to have to say Yes about how these systems of central control of huge, modern populations–in China, the Soviet Union, the U.S.–have built-in mechanisms of failure, croneyism and corruption. Having witnessed the grotesque failures of Fascism, Communism and Capitalism in one long lifetime in the last and present centuries, we must now begin to say Yes to the surviving system that can best organize human talents to answer the needs of a plundered, wounded, aching planet. That system will require a new American constitution and decentralization of our political and economic structures. We need to say Yes to Socialism.

  2. The Senate just passed a new-fangled version of the bailout under a new cosmeticized name. The affirmative vote reflects the Senate’s class composition much higher in multimillionaires than their lowlier colleagues in the House. The whole thing is just designed to provide a smoke screen to get a similar vote on the House, or to simply exert “statesmanship” pressure on the holdouts. What a theater! WORTHY o F A NATION OF THIEVES AND NINCOMPOOPS.

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