Monday, September 29, 2008

Political Ideology

I haven't had a chance to figure out what happened with the bailout, other than the five seconds I got watching t.v. before my six year old claimed her "divinely-appointed" right to watch "Fetch withRuff Ruffman."

But I did get a glimmer of a Representative from the Democratic Black Caucus talking about how his caucus put aside their desires, emotions, etc. in order to vote for the bailout, but that 65% of the Republican Congress chose to put political ideology above the well-being of the nation.

The problem with that statement is that political ideology is not something that you put above or below the well-being of the nation. Political ideology is what shapes your view as to WHAT is good for the nation.

The Republican Party has a set of ideals that are, I would hope, what would make a politician choose to become Republican. If one agrees with the Democratic platform, then one would hopefully be a Democrat. These are not just excuses to get into a fight, these are firmly held beliefs as to how the government should work -- how it should serve the people who are its citizens.

I also want to make one thing clear: I keep hearing on the news that "people just think this is going to be a rescuing of the fat cats, not that this is going to effect them in getting car loans, personally, etc." I completely understand that the failure of this bailout bill will effect me personally, possibly terribly. But I would rather see that than see my government ignore our Constitution and socialize almost our entire banking industry. A good portion of this was caused by the government's meddling in the banking industry. This bailout means that the government would be telling the banking industry who they could and couldn't loan to now as well. I think that it is better to deal with an economic recession, panic, or depression than to throw our Constitutional Rights out the window. I do not want to see the beginning of another New Deal. I am not going to just change my mind once I realize I can't get my loans. I think the banking world and the government needs to sit down and re-evaluate who they should be loaning money to in the first place.

I wrote letters to my Representatives and my Senators this week. And the main thing I told them was that I hoped they would not vote for this bailout. While I didn't like that they were bailing out Big Business and weren't exactly looking to bail ME out of my debt, that wasn't my big issue. My big issue was that the Constitution does NOT give them the right to do this. By bailing out these banks in the ways that Bush and Paulson have suggested, and that the Democratic party has embraced (oh, isn't that an irony???), they are socializing the investment banking industry.

See, a political ideology means "these are the boundaries that we can, in good conscience, work within." And I really do want my representatives to work within their consciences. The Republican party has as a main tenet of their ideology that they must work within the bounds of the Constitution and preserve the individual rights of the citizenry. I know that at times, I haven't been too happy with how they have done that, and I have been praying that they remembered that during this time. If they hold to this ideology, NO ANSWER IS THE RIGHT ANSWER THAT STEPS OUTSIDE THE BOUNDS OF THE CONSTITUTION.

Congressman Sauder was the one Representative that emailed me back, and when he did so, he enclosed a letter from the Senate Minority Leader Boehner to Nancy Pelosi, and it first stated an objection that Pelosi, Reid, and Frank had been portraying that they were close to a deal when really, there hadn't been much interparty discussion regarding a solution, but that they were confident that a joint solution could be found, and that their work last year on an Economic Stimulus Package suggested that.

He also included a list of principles that were sent to Speaker Pelosi that had to be met in order to get the vote of House Republicans.


I. Wall Street – Not Taxpayers – Should Fund the Recovery

The most troubling part of Sec. Paulson’s plan is that it relies wholly on taxpayer funds. House Republicans believe that rather than providing taxpayer funded purchases of frozen mortgage assets to solve this problem, any rescue package should adopt a plan to insure mortgage backed securities (MBS) through payment of insurance premiums.

Currently, the federal government insures approximately half of all MBS and can insure the rest of those still outstanding. However, rather than taxpayers funding the insurance, the holders of these assets should pay for it. The working group’s proposal would direct the Treasury Department to design a system to charge premiums to the holders of MBS to fully finance this insurance.

II. Private Capital – Not Tax Dollars – Should Be Injected Into Financial Markets

Instead of injecting taxpayer funds into the market to produce liquidity, private capital can be drawn into the market by removing burdensome regulatory and tax barriers that are currently blocking private capital formation. In short, too much private capital is sitting on the sidelines during this crisis, and it is well past time to unleash it.

Temporary tax relief provisions can help companies free up capital to maintain operations, create jobs, and lend to one another. In addition, the working group recommends a temporary suspension of dividend payments by financial institutions and other regulatory measures to address the problems surrounding private capital liquidity.

III. Immediate Transparency, Oversight, and Market Reform

Both Republicans and Democrats have made clear that they believe there is not a strong enough oversight component in Sec. Paulson’s plan. The House Republican working group’s proposal addresses this flaw. To begin, the plan would require participating firms to disclose to the Treasury Department the value of their mortgage assets on their books, the value of any private bids within the last year for such assets, and their last audit report. Additional safeguards include:

· To limit federal exposure for high risk loans, the working group’s recommendations mandate that Government Sponsored Entities no longer securitize any unsound mortgages.

· The plan would call on the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to audit reports of failed companies to ensure that the financial standing of these troubled companies was accurately portrayed.

· The blueprint would guarantee that Wall Street executives do not benefit from taxpayer funding.

· The proposal would call on the SEC to review the performance of the credit rating agencies and their ability to accurately reflect the risks of these failed investment securities.

· The working group recommends that Congress create a blue ribbon panel with representatives of Treasury, SEC, and the Federal Reserve Board to make recommendations to Congress for reforms of the financial sector by January 1, 2009.
These seem reasonable to me. And if they have not been met, I am proud of my Representatives for voting against it and continuing to seek a solution that will protect us, under our Constitution.

But this definitely is a time that we need to be praying for them, for our nation, our neighbor, and our world.

1 comment:

Hannah J said...

Good points! I may borrow this post this week.