Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Senator Bernie Sanders Offers a Bit of Sanity

"Having mismanaged the economy for eight years while continually insisting that the 'fundamentals of our economy are strong,' the Bush administration now wants the middle class of this country to bail out Wall Street. Meanwhile the wealthiest people, those who have benefited most from Bush's policies and are in the best position to pay, are being asked for no sacrifice at all. This is absurd."

Okay, okay, I admit that I have probably crossed the line from having a passing interest in politics to being a full-blown political junkie. Here's the proof - it is 4:45pm (CST) and I am watching C-SPAN2. At the moment Senator Bernie Sanders (I - VT) is offering an amendment that actually makes sense - it would place much of the burden of this colossal bailout on those who are responsible for creating this mess. Here is the most salient detail of the Sanders Amendment: "In the case of a taxpayer other than a corporation, there is hereby imposed (in addition to any other tax imposed by this subtitle) a tax equal to 10 percent of so much of modified adjusted gross income as exceeds $500,000.00 ($1,000,000.00 in the case of a joint return or a surviving spouse."

I hope that this amendment is taken seriously and attached to the bill that the Senate is debating today, but I don't hold out much hope for that. I have heard many senators talk about how this piece of legislation may return a good part of the $700 billion tab to the taxpayers who are being asked to front this astronomical amount of money, it may even generate a profit for taxpayers. That makes me laugh if we weren't talking about such a huge sum of money. It brings to mind remarks that we heard during the run-up to the Iraq war that the oil from Iraq would pay for this incursion into a country that had not attacked us. Now almost a trillion dollars later, the Iraq war has not paid for itself. In fact, the Iraqi government has over 10 billion dollars in a New York bank, no lawmaker has susggested that that money be used to pay for the costs of rebuiliding a country that is in shabbles.

So I despair that taxpayers will ever see any reward or repayment for their largesse. American taxpayers will be played the fool again, and again, and we will take it, because our voices are so easily discounted. I am angry at Senator Obama, Senator Dodd, Senator Schumer, and many other Democrats who are so eager to pass this admittedly-flawed legislation. I applaud Senator Bernie Sanders who at least attempted to put the responsibility of this fiasco at the feet of those who caused it. I will hold my breath and wait and see if his amendment passes and makes this bailout a little more palatable to those who will ultimately feel the sting of this bill. I fear that I will pass out when the vote is taken.

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