Haste holds hazards for taxpayers The administration's $700-billion financial bailout plan places too much authority and power in the hands of one person, the Treasury secretary. If enacted, this flawed plan has provisions that could be more disastrous to the American economy than the existing situation.
Some of the provisions that provide the secretary free rein are as follows:
• "Authorized to purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, on such terms and conditions as determined by the secretary, mortgage-related assets from any financial institution having its headquarters in the United States."
• "The secretary is authorized to take such actions as the secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this act, including, without limitation … entering into contracts … without regard to any other provision of the law regarding public contracts."
• Increase in the statutory limit on the public debt to $11.315-trillion.
There are other questionable provisions, but the worst one says: "Decisions by the secretary pursuant to the authority of this act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."
Congress should not act in haste to enact the bailout plan as proposed. It would be a serious mistake to provide such power and authority to one person. We should have learned about the folly of such actions by the mistakes made going to war in Iraq, and by passage of the Patriot Act.
We need a plan that will correct our financial and economic problems, that will benefit Americans and help resolve the foreclosure problems. It shouldn't just bailout banks, financial institutions and Wall Street at the expense of American taxpayers.
Darrell W. Weston, Beverly Hills
Quick action is needed to avert financial disaster
A decision will be made by the federal government, maybe by the end of this week, on whether a $700-billion bailout of financial markets will occur. Already government bailouts have occurred with AIG for $85-billion and others including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that could push this fiasco to a trillion dollars. This could very well be the costliest debacle that has occurred since the Great Depression, and it is a decision that should be weighed carefully.
Should the taxpayer be on the hook for this incredible bill or should we let every institution take it on the chin? The reality of this is that it did not occur overnight and we have been shoveling the mess under the rug until we started tripping on it. Investment firms and banks have been making questionable decisions all along, but regulators have been looking the other way. On the other hand, people securing these questionable mortgage debts should have known better. It is a matter of blame that will not be settled any time soon.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is urging Congress to quickly approve the plan or face more instability of financial markets and the economy. If this plan is approved, it will most likely avert a huge financial collapse, but to determine at this point who is going to pay for it should be secondary.
The weary taxpayers should not be worried about whether their 401(k)s will still be there tomorrow. We need quick action and it needs to take place now! The question of how we pay for it without crippling our nation should be placed on the next agenda. Stabilization should be our first concern.
David R. Simpson, St. Petersburg
Beware the browbeating
According to the Bush administration, Congress needs to react to the financial crisis without taking the time to deliberate carefully, enabling the Treasury secretary to make $700-billion decisions without review or oversight by the courts or anyone else.
What a great idea. The Bush administration would never overstate a national crisis in order to browbeat Congress into taking precipitate actions that give huge new powers to the executive branch, would they?
And as a follow-up, how about if we elect a new president who admits that economics is not his strong suit, who has devoted his whole career to removing regulatory impediments to corporate greed, and whose best-known economic adviser was one of the architects of the regulatory failures that caused the crisis in the first place?
Gregory A. Morgan, Lutz
Make cuts before spending
I don't have a clue whether a $700-million government bailout is "necessary," but I wish I would hear just one politician say that the government does not have unlimited funds and in order not to bankrupt the country, we must:
• End farm subsidies now.
• End all earmarks now.
• Reduce the federal work force by 10 percent now.
• Find a way to trim 5 percent from Medicare this year.
•Withdraw all of our troops from Iraq, South Korea and Germany within 12 months.
Keep doing this sort of thing on and on until $700-million in genuine savings are found.
If this came to pass, the value of the dollar would skyrocket, the price of oil would plummet and the nation could take the first steps to financial recovery. But, of course, it won't happen. There are too many vested interests who put their own welfare ahead of the national interest.
Bob Rudnicki, Gulfport
No place to gamble
Those who would urge young folks to insist that they're smart enough to do their own investing of their Social Security funds should take a second look at what's going on now on Wall Street and in all the financial markets.
There's a lot of chicanery going on, and they would do well to have a guaranteed income rather than gamble their old age away on the stock market.
Gamble all you want, with your discretionary funds, but keep your Social Security intact. This great country is nearly bankrupt today, to say nothing of the coming depression and/or inflation when they're printing money to pay off these titans of industry and "investment."
Helen Kerwin, Clearwater
Thank the Democrats | Sept. 22, letter
A majority too small
Beyond the absurdity of blaming the Democrats for the last eight years of "deregulation" is an appalling lack of knowledge of how our government operates.
During President Bush' first six years in office, he seldom vetoed any legislation that was passed by a Republican Congress. Once the Democrats "barely" controlled Congress, he vetoed and/or threatened a veto on most of the legislation the Democrats attempted to pass. Because they didn't hold a three-fifths majority in the Senate (60), they were not able to override his veto and pass important legislation.
This was the Republican administration's responsibility, not the Democrats'.
Linda Darin, Seminole
Deadly deregulation | Sept. 22, letter
The real deregulators
Deregulation did not happen under President Bush. The 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act repealed Great Depression-era bank regulations with the approval of President Bill Clinton.
And the major political contributions go to the Democrats. Barack Obama is the second-largest recipient of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac campaign contributions, trailing only U.S. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn.
John Rooks, Clearwater
Budget cuts? Not in suite | Sept. 20, story
Feeding fat cats
I read this story about our Hillsborough County Sports Authority members who enjoy (along with a few repeat guests) a $140,000-a-year luxury box at Raymond James Stadium, during Buccaneer football games. The article also included notice of a trip, paid for by my tax dollars, for Sports Authority member and Tampa City council member Gwen Miller to go enjoy Spain.
Seriously, when will it be that the residents of Hillsborough County have had enough of these wolves in sheep's clothing? County Commissioner Jim Norman keeps coming up time and again yet somehow must have the lives of a cat because no one other than the St. Petersburg Times dares dive in and look at how we, as taxpayers, are funding the leisure activities of him and others.
When we can expect true regulation to help our tax dollars go to something other than ribs and booze for our politicians?
Jim Walsh, Tampa