Beating Goliath in the Battle of the Bailout
By Carter Clews
The Battle of the “Stimulus” Boondoggle is over. The Battle of the Banking Bailout is about to begin.
And this time around, according to Americans for Limited Government's Bill Wilson, there's no more Mr. Nice Guy.
“We have nearly 500,000 Members nationwide. We intend to add an additional 500,000 Members, or more, over the next, three to four weeks. And we are promising them all that --whatever it takes -- we do not intend to allow the Geithner-Reid-Pelosi troika to hand over one more dime of the taxpayers' hard-earned money to a bunch of billion-dollar bankers who couldn't keep their own books in order.
“When Reagan was asked his strategy for confronting the Soviet Union in the Cold War, he replied, ‘We win, they lose.'
“That's our strategy in the Battle of the Banking Bailout.”
When Wilson speaks, friends and foes alike tend to listen. The hardnosed politico started off his career as a field man for the National Right to Work Committee way back in the late Seventies and early Eighties when that organization established a reputation for bare-knuckle brawling that would make John L. Sullivan blush with envy. And he rose up through the Right to Work ranks to the top of the heap.
Back in those days, the Right to Work folks had a budget of just $6 million a year. Peanuts to the massive union movement with its $600 million in ready cash. Yet, in every head-to-head Capitol Hill encounter, the union-baiting David beat the towering, glowering Goliath like a bad drum.
“They had the money and the political clout, we had the gumption and people's support,” says Wilson today. “And the same holds true today. The Geithner-Reid-Pelosi troika rules the Washington roost. And they're on a role. But, we have tens of millions of hardworking Americans who aren't too crazy about being told to hand over their meager wages to a bunch of coiffured guys in Gucci shoes and tailored suits who wine and dine the politicians and stick the taxpayer with the tab.”
And how much, exactly is that tab – a tab about to be presented to the average Joe and Jane making $32,000 a year and fearing for their jobs 24/7/365? Well, it's anyone's guess what the troika will try to hand their well-healed friends in the financial industry in the upcoming Battle of the Banking Bailout – but here's what the politicians' paly-walies got in the last TARP go-around:
Bank of America Corporation
Bank of New York Mellon Corporation NY
Citigroup Inc. NY
JPMorgan Chase & Co. NY
Morgan Stanley NY
State Street Corporation MA
The Goldman Sachs Group,Inc. NY
Wells Fargo & Company CA
Those figures are from the GAO's January, 2009. Report to Congressional Committees. You can look it up for yourself if you want – it's at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d09296.pdf. But, let me warn you to hold your nose. It stinks. Especially when you consider that most of those Big Bank boffos then refused to say what they did with the money. And told the average guy to take a hike.
An exaggeration? Well, check around with your neighbors to see if any of them got a cash – or credit – infusion from the Big 8. In fact, check your own nest egg. See any “With Love from JP or Mr. Sachs” promissory notes in there?
Of course you don't. And you won't. According to the Associated Press, your grand take from the just-passed “stimulus” boondoggle will come to a whopping $8 next year -- out of nearly a trillion dollars in new government spending. And don't expect your share of the bank bailout to even come close to that measly stipend.
That's why Bill Wilson is mad as hell. And why he intends to make sure that his organization's Members – and tens of millions of other good, decent Americans nationwide – don't have to take it anymore.
So, what's he going to do?
“We're going to run advertising in every venue under the sun. We're going to send out millions upon millions of emails – learned that from President Obama. We're going to organize our 70,000-member NetRightNation.com bloggers coalition. We're going to talk to every reporter who will lend us his or her ear. And we're going to stalk – not walk, stalk – the halls of Congress until the politicians think they've sprouted a shadow.”
He adds, “And if that's not enough, we'll do more”
Wilson points out that there are 8,000 banks in the country, most of which are entirely solvent and doing fine, thank you. Some 59 percent of the original TARP dole went to the Big 8 listed above. The remaining 41 percent was divvied out to just 309 others. Which is kind of like rewarding the miscreants and spitting in the eye of the good guys who did right.
Now (to put it bluntly), the Geithner-Reid-Pelosi troika are roiling up more bile to gleefully launch at the pathetic play-by-the-rules types they have come to disdain. And at the American people, for that matter.
But, not if Bill Wilson and those he represents can help it. And, actually, the odds aren't that bad. According to the most recent Rasmussen poll, more than half, or 56 percent, of respondents oppose giving banks more government money. Among those most closely attuned to the financial industry, opposition is even higher, with 59 percent of investors opposing the new bailout.
Says Wilson, "More than three-quarters of the adults in this country believe Wall Street will benefit more from the new bank bailout plan than the average U.S. taxpayer. And, of course, they are absolutely right. In fact, it's the average taxpayer who will be forced to pay for the Wall Street bunch's benefits. And we're just not going to let that happen. Not again. No matter how much the troika screams, screeches, scowls, and growls.”
Wilson points out that the Rasmussen poll also reveals that a piddling 37 percent of the American people are even “Somewhat Confident” that the politicians in Washington know what they're doing. And only 4 percent are “Very Confident.”
So, the Battle of the Banking Bailout is about to begin. And Bill Wilson feels like this time around, by the time the dust settles and the taps blow, the good guys may have about a 96 percent chance of winning. So, get ready for a rumble!
Carter Clews is the Executive Editor of ALG News Bureau.