Your Congress At Work

I have become increasingly cynical about politics over the last few weeks. Our government is asking us to foot the bill for a huge bailout of campiagn-financing big businesses who mismanaged money? I find this ridiculous. Mark and I have been watching the story unravel with so much frustration. Today a website called revealed that the four congressmen deciding the fate of this bailout have received millions of dollars in contributions from the companies they are going to save (with YOUR taxpayer money). Don't even get me started on how that money could be better spent. Mark was so annoyed that he decided to call our congressman.

Well, imagine his surprise when Dana Rohrbacher himself answered the phone!! He was in Washington at 8pm, just sitting down to watch the debates. He talked with us for 15 minutes. He gave us inside details of the congressional meeting today. He totally heard our concerns, and explained how much this would cost us as taxpayers, and why he did not think it would save our economy. He agreed with us on the whole debacle, and promised he would continue to fight so that we would not be paying this debt over the next 10-20 years.

Well. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I did have to put my cynical little self in check. I was so pleased that he took the time to talk to us. Even if he had disagreed, I would have been encouraged. I just couldn't believe it took one phone call to allow us to air our grievances to someone who actually had a say in the whole thing. And especially that he took our call after-hours on a crazy day in the middle of a huge congressional stand-off.

Perhaps the world is not all bad.

In case you have no idea what I'm talk about, here is a great recap from Mike Huckabee, who expresses my sentiments exactly:

Frankly, 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 the 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. They lost, but want the rest of us to cover their bets so they won’t be effected in their lavish lifestyles as they figure out how to spend their tens of millions and in some cases, hundreds of millions in bonuses and compensation which was their reward for not only sinking their companies, but basically doing the same to the entire American economy.

It’s especially disconcerting to see the very people who pilloried me during the Presidential campaign for being a “populist” and not “understanding Wall Street” to now line up like thirsty dogs at the Washington, D. C. water dish, otherwise known as Congress, and plead for help. I thought these guys were the smartest people in America! I thought that taxpayers like you and I were similar to the people at the U. N. who have no translator speaking into their headset - that we just needed to trust those that I called the power bunch in the “Wall Street to Washington axis of power.”

The idea of a government bailout in which we’d entrust $700 billion to one man without Congressional oversight or accountability is absurd. My party or not, that is insanity and I believe unconstitutional.

Will there be far-reaching consequences without some intervention? Probably, but we honestly don’t know since we’ve really never seen this level of greed and stupidity all rolled into one massive move. But may I suggest that letting “Uncle Sugar” step in and bail out the billionaires who made the mess will be far worse and will start a long line of companies and individuals who will demand the same of the government---which last time I checked means that they will be demanding it out of YOU and ME. This is not money that Congress is risking from THEIR pockets or future, but ours. Many if not most of us have already experienced lost value on our homes, retirement accounts, and pensions. Now they’d like for us to assume some further risks so they won’t have to.

What happened to the “free market” idea? Is that only our view when we WIN and when we LOSE, we ask the government to come in and take away the pain?

If you are a small business owner, is this the way it works at your place? When you have a bad month, a bad year, or face having to close, can you go up to Congress and get them to write YOU a fat check to take away your risk?

Some of what contributed to this disaster is too much government in the form of Sarbanes/Oxley. Some is due to the tax structure that created the hunger for companies to “game” the system. Some is the common sense that was ignored like loaning money to people who can’t pay it back.

Wall Street has become Las Vegas east, but at least in Vegas, people KNOW they are gambling and they don’t expect the government to cover their losses at the tables. In Wall Street, they do. And the American taxpayer burdens the responsibility.

If Congress wants to do something, here are some suggestions:

1. Eliminate ALL capital gains taxes and taxes on savings and dividends right now. Free up the capital and encourage investment. This is the kind of economic stimulus the Fair Tax would bring and if Congress is going to lose money, let them lose it with lower taxes, not with public dollar bailouts of private market mistakes.

2. Repeal Sarbanes/Oxley. It has failed. It was supposed to prevent this. It didn’t. Kill it.

3. Demand that the executives who steered their ships into the ground be forced to pay back the losses of their companies. Of course, they can’t, so let them work and give back to the government and they can live like the people they put on the streets or kept there. It makes no sense to put them in jail—that’s just more they will cost you and me. I’d rather them go out and earn money—just not get to keep so much of it this time. I’m not talking about limiting CEO salaries---just those of the people who now are up in Washington begging for help because they ruined their companies.

Attempts by Democrats and Republicans to blame each other is nonsense. They are both guilty and ought to own up and admit it. They all lived off big campaign contributions and the swill of the lobbyists who strong armed them into permission to steal. Enough of blame. Fix it!

This would be a start. If we don’t hold these guys responsible, we are all finished!


  1. Very cool that your congressman actually answered his phone and sent his time listening.
    I also have been really so frustrated with this bailout plan. After writing senators and congressmen, I received a personal email from my senator saying she's working against the bailout.

  2. that is so cool. i had no idea that a phone number the public has would be a direct line. crazy and very very cool.

    i'll admit that i love listening to NPR and being engaged politically, but the economy is a little over my head. i'm not sure what to make of it.

    did you watch the debates tonight?

  3. i don't agree with the bailout either....but the people who have bought too big new cars every couple years....spend spend spend to keep up with the neighbors... need to claim responsibility all comes down to the big ceos wanting to make more money and people wanting to look like they have a lot of can't blame the big corporations for the greed of every day man......but you can blame them for some other things....good for you for doing something.....i have been cynical about politics since i had the option to vote....


  4. Amen, sister!

    When are we marching?

  5. Anonymous9:14 AM

    I disagree with the bailout too. Unfortunately, government intervention into the housing market by legislating that low-income people have access to mortgages that they couldn't afford is what started this mess. Now, after causing the problem, government wants to "solve" the problem. What a mess.

  6. yep - loved it. I thought they both did a great job.

  7. Thanks Kristen, I can always count on you to break it down for me. My husband and I were driving home from a weekend road trip yesterday and had over two hours of NPR coverage on this very topic and I still did not get what was going on.

    It is frustrating though, when those of us who really try to live within our means and making sacrifices to do so, are then bailing out those who are making choices to live beyond their means.

  8. Love the cartoon, perfect! I read a quote today in the New Yorker that said “In America the only respectable type of socialism is socialism for the rich.” That is what a bailout would be. Like you I’m outraged that taxpayers are being asked to pay for the breathtaking recklessness of corporate America and the lack of oversight by our government.

    But make no mistake; there probably will be some kind of bailout. The potential for a very bad, prolonged recession, maybe even a depression, is too great. Right now our financial institutions are frozen. The bailout would inject needed cash into banks and other institutions so that corporate America can continue to rely on credit. Without this available credit line many companies can’t make payroll, people get laid off and stop spending, lose their homes, etc. and the economy tanks.

    I hope that our leaders can come up with an alternate solution. While I totally share Huckabee’s disgust, I’m not sure I agree with any of his solutions, they pander to the wealthy, big business and greedy corporate executives.

    Eliminate the capital gains tax and tax on savings? This really mostly benefits the wealthy. And there is good reason to believe that these taxes are preventing a fire sale of investments by keeping investors from bailing out on a rotten market because they don’t want to pay tax on their gains.

    Repeal Sarbox? Lack of regulations and oversight is what got us into this mess! I’m not sure Sarbox has been in use long enough (especially in the mortgage backed securities sector) to say whether or not it could have prevented this debacle.

    And, it might not be such a bad idea for the CEO’s to serve jail time (in addition to limiting their monetary compensation) for their greed and mismanagement.

    What a colossal cluster-@#$%!!. URGH!

  9. nice blog. no bailout. lame.
    dana r. not so lame. way to answer your phone. i like him. fun fact? he goes to our church...occasionally...when he is in town and not voting on stupid bills like this one.


talk to me.

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