Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich responded appropriately Sunday, when House and Senate leaders announced early a bipartisan agreement for a variation on Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's $700 billion (plus-plus-plus) bailout plan Wall Street.
Kucinich wasn't buying into the idea that everyone in Congress would climb on board for the bailout. "If the votes were there, this would be on the floor. The votes aren't there," Kucinich said Sunday.
Clearly, the congressman was not on board.
On the floor of House Sunday, Kucinich declared that:
The $700 billion bailout for Wall Street, is driven by fear not fact. This is too much money in too a short a time going to too few people while too many questions remain unanswered. Why aren't we having hearings on the plan we have just received? Why aren't we questioning the underlying premise of the need for a bailout with taxpayers' money? Why have we not considered any alternatives other than to give $700 billion to Wall Street? Why aren't we asking Wall Street to clean up its own mess? Why aren't we passing new laws to stop the speculation, which triggered this? Why aren't we putting up new regulatory structures to protect investors? How do we even value the $700 billion in toxic assets?
Why aren't we helping homeowners directly with their debt burden? Why aren't we helping American families faced with bankruptcy. Why aren't we reducing debt for Main Street instead of Wall Street? Isn't it time for fundamental change in our debt based monetary system, so we can free ourselves from the manipulation of the Federal Reserve and the banks? Is this the United States Congress or the board of directors of Goldman Sachs? Wall Street is a place of bears and bulls. It is not smart to force taxpayers to dance with bears or to follow closely behind the bulls.
That Kucinich is spot-on comes as no great surprise.
When he bid for the Democratic presidential nomination this year, he spoke more consistently and more bluntly about the economic crisis than any of the other contenders.
Kucinich was not treated particularly seriously the media or his fellow Democratic candidates.
Now that Kucinich has been proven right, however, Barack Obama might want to pay attention to what the former mayor, state legislator and veteran congressman is saying.
He actually gets it.
© 2008 The Nation