Monday, April 20, 2009

Citizens to Own Shares of Rescued Wall Street Companies

“WASHINGTON — President Obama’s top economic advisers have determined that they can shore up the nation’s banking system without having to ask Congress for more money any time soon, according to administration officials.

“In a significant shift, White House and Treasury Department officials now say they can stretch what is left of the $700 billion financial bailout fund further than they had expected a few months ago, simply by converting the government’s existing loans to the nation’s 19 biggest banks into common stock.

“Converting those loans to common shares would turn the federal aid into available capital for a bank — and give the government a large ownership stake in return.

“While the option appears to be a quick and easy way to avoid a confrontation with Congressional leaders wary of putting more money into the banks, some critics would consider it a back door to nationalization, since the government could become the largest shareholder in several banks.”
Edmund L. Andrews,
“U.S. May Convert Banks’ Bailouts to Equity Share,”
The New York Times, April 19, 2009

Republicans Are Predictably Outraged at this potential to “nationalize” American banks and turn America into “a socialist state.” But think about this:

If Republicans Would Pull Their Heads out of Their Ideology, and turn their thoughts toward constructive solutions—instead of always shouting out, “Just Say No!—just think what we could achieve.

Take This Proposal For Example:

The American Shareholder Plan

Now That President Obama’s Top Economic Advisors
have begun turning taxpayer TARP loans into shares of common stock, it’s time to take another look at the ASP—the American Shareholder Plan.

(For Our Description of this taxpayer/shareholder proposal, see October 11, 2008:
“ASP: The American Shareholder Plan.”)

Conservative Americans Oppose Nationalization of publicly owned companies: Under the ASP corporate ownership gets taken out of the hands of government, and into the hands of private, American citizens.

Conservatives Oppose the “Moral Hazard”
of rescuing profligate private companies such as A.I.G. and Citigroup. By giving ownership to individual taxpayers, the ASP makes sure that those on Wall Street who got us into the current mess pay the price—through loss of ownership. Thus, moral hazard comes at a real cost.

Liberal Americans Are Angry
at the Investment Banks and Insurance Companies that have put the economy at risk, and countless Americans out of their homes and out of work. The ASP puts shareholder rewards in the pockets of the American taxpayer. Under the ASP, all citizens stand to benefit.

Americans Right and Left Share Concerns about Social Security. Republicans under the administration of President George W. Bush lobbied for private retirement accounts under the Social Security umbrella. The ASP can provide the basis for such private accounts—at no additional cost to the Federal Government and the American taxpayer.

For Once, Wall Street Need Not Benefit Alone from these historic excesses. Those who bear the real cost—the American taxpayers—receive the real benefit, in the form of stock-ownership that accrues toward each American’s retirement and education and health care.

If the American Shareholder Plan
Raises Questions for You, please post a comment below or send an email to:

Otherwise, Please Write Your Senators and Representatives. If you’d really like to own a share of America, let your government officials know.

And If Your Congresspersons Happen to Be Republicans, please let them know about pulling their heads out of their ideology. It's time for the Republican Party to get back to work supporting America.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What Took Them So Long? (The April Fools!)

Key Features of the Alternate Budget Proposal
put forth today by the Republicans as an April Fool’s Day joke include:
Tax cuts
A simplified income-tax system
A freeze on domestic spending
The persistence of market-based health-care
A repeal of most of the spending in Barack Obama’s recently passed economic stimulus bill*
It Comes as No Surpise that we get the same old, tired stuff....

The Proposal Is a “Thinly Veiled Plan” to impose a Republican-tax-cut, more-of-the-same economy on those Americans who lack the benefit of million-dollar bonuses and severance packages.

It Begs the Overriding Question:

Why Did They Wait So Long?

The Republican Party Controlled the Entire National Government
from January 2001 until January 2007. All three branches of government. The White House. Both houses of Congress. The Supreme Court majority.

If Ever a Political Party Wanted a Chance to test its theories, that was the time.

Instead, for More Than Six Years, the Republican Party chose to do something else.

And Whatever Else It Was That They Did, it didn’t work.

What Stood in Their Way
(giving them the benefit of the doubt) was:


During That Time, Nothing Else but “terror” mattered, and nothing could have stopped them from imposing their theories on the rest of us. Instead, they demurred. They delayed. They deferred. They......did something else.

No One Likes What They Did. Not American citizens and not the rest of the world. We and the rest of the world are ready for change.

But Now Here They Go Again. And what are the Republicans’ two messages?

First: Cut Taxes! Cut Domestic Spending that directly benefits American citizens.

And Second:


The Republicans Are Terrified. They are terrified of deficit spending, as if they have a monopoly on this fear. They are terrified of government health care, such as the VA and the health care that Congress gets.

Here Is Some Insight for the Republicans and their fears:

We Are All Afraid Right Now.

We Are Afraid of Big Spending. We, too, fear trillion-dollar deficits, and debt that may fall on the backs of our children. We fear for our jobs and our mortgages, our hospital bills and our old age.

But We Will Not Be Enslaved by our fears.

America Remains
“the Home of the Brave”

What Separates Republicans from the Rest of Us is that the rest of us face our fears and go forward, as we always have before.

But the Republicans, with Six Full Years to Test Their Theories, chose cowardice. They chose to wallow in fear. They de-regulated like crazy, and they insulted the rest of the world and they waged war where they chose, and they spent our money like there was no tomorrow.

Today’s Americans Face Our Fears for Tomorrow:

Now it Is up to the American Taxpayer to pay for twenty-eight years of Republican-led indebtedness.

We Choose Courage Over the Empty Promises of Terrified Republicans. Yes, we are afraid—as much of losing our jobs and our houses as we are of trillion-dollar deficits. But we face the future with courage.

America Will Prevail, as we always have in the face of great adversity. Left with the debacle of the Republican Era, we turn our eyes forward, to the next horizon.

And So to the Republicans and Their “New,” Old Ideas, we say, “thanks, but no thanks.”

We See This Budget Proposal of Failed Ideology, and we say:

April Fools!

*You can read the AP feature story, courtesy of Yahoo, which serves as our source, at:
“Republicans propose big tax cuts, spending curbs.” See also the article on Paul Ryan’s statement from The Wall Street Journal: “The GOP's Alternative Budget.”