Quote of the Day: "Even in the best economic times, you won't find an investment with a greater payoff than what these companies have been getting." -- Sheila Krumholz, Executive Director of The Center for Responsive Politics
Subject: The United States of Corporate Welfare
The Congressional Oversight Panel charged with monitoring the T.A.R.P. bailout scheme thinks more bailouts may be needed.
In case you've forgotten . . .
* T.A.R.P. stands for Toxic Asset Relief Program
* The T.A.R.P. was supposed to spend $700 billion buying so-called toxic assets from institutions that were supposedly too big to fail, but . . .
* After Congress said yes to this proposal the Treasury Department instead used the funds to buy stock in major banks
* In other words, The Toxic Asset Relief Program ended up having nothing to do with toxic assets
It get's worse. According to Wikipedia . . . .
"On February 5, 2009, Elizabeth Warren, chairperson of the Congressional Oversight Panel, told the Senate Banking Committee that during 2008, the federal government paid $254 billion for assets that were worth only $176 billion."
And even worse . . .
"During 2008, the companies that received bailout money had spent $114 million on lobbying and campaign contributions. These companies received $295 billion in bailout money."
Thus, our quote of the day. Spending $114 million on lobbying to gain $295 billion dollars from the taxpayers is a hell of a deal. Many thoughts flow from this . . .
* Those who told us that strong campaign finance laws would curtail corruption were wrong
* Those who tell us we need Big Government to control evil corporations overlook the fact that big corporations want big government, because they benefit from it, and largely control it
* The same kind of lobbying and corporate control is behind the scheme for increased government involvement in health care
* And the $800 billion stimulus bill was another heaping helping of corporate welfare too
Sadly, this isn't a new development. President Obama and the Democratic Congress are just continuing the policies of President Bush and the Republican Congress . . .
* Go back and scratch beneath the surface of Bush's prescription drug program and you'll find that it was mostly a corporate welfare scheme for Big Pharma.
* In addition, T.A.R.P. was passed under Bush and the Republican Congress.
As long as partisan loyalists continue to believe that their particular political party, and their particular political savior (be it Obama, Bush, whoever) is somehow different, we'll continue to be victims of the same insanity. And at some point we might as well change the country's name to . . .
The United States of Corporate Welfare
Here's the bottom line . . .
* If you want to stop the looting then you need to be heard to the same extent as the Big Corporate lobbyists.
* We created DownsizeDC.org to bring that about.
* But it isn't something we're going to achieve in a Big Bang.
* It's going to happen bit by bit and day by day -- because that's how real change usually happens.
* In fact, that's how the United States of Corporate America was created in the first place.
Please use DownsizeDC.org's Educate the Powerful System (sm) to send your Congressional employees another message opposing corporate bailouts.
Tell them you object to the Congressional Oversight Panel's report calling for T.A.R.P. to finally be used to buy toxic assets. If the past is any guide then these assets will be bought at above market prices, and will just be one more heaping helping of corporate welfare.
You can use DownsizeDC.org's "No Bailouts" campaign to send your letter.
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