Just when you thought everyone was drinking the DC Kool-Aid and about to give $700 billion (that's $700,000,000,000) to Wall Street, in pops this headline in my inbox:
Welch votes against Wall Street bailout
Yep, and so did enough of his House counterparts to sink the deal by a 228-205 vote. The current plan is now dead in the House and stocks are tumbling precipitously. More to come.
Meanwhile, here's Welch's complete statement:
“The economic crisis we face is real. However, I voted against the bailout because it isn’t paid for and because I don’t believe it will work.
“First, the Paulsen plan does not offer a path to a strong economic future. Quite simply, it is the biggest taxpayer bailout in American history. It proposes to solve a problem caused by reckless borrowing and reckless lending by borrowing $700 billion more.
“Second, it is appalling that the plan is not funded. It is yet another expense put on the taxpayers’ credit card. Just as President Bush told us his tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans would pay for themselves, and Secretary Rumsfeld told us the Iraqi oil revenues would pay for the Iraq war, now Secretary Paulsen is telling us he can sell toxic debt securities that Wall Street can’t.
“Since the administration first proposed its Wall Street bailout, I have heard from thousands of Vermonters concerned about their hard earned tax dollars rewarding Wall Street’s reckless behavior. Vermonters are furious about the financial crisis and they have every right to be. They bitterly resent being asked to pay $10,000 each for a $700 billion Wall Street rescue.”
“Chairman Frank, Chairman Dodd, and House and Senate leadership did a good job making a bad proposal better, but it is still a bad plan. I cannot in good conscience vote for a fundamentally flawed plan that puts so much financial risk on the backs of the already stretched middle class.
“There are responsible ways to accomplish stabilizing our markets without leaving the middle class holding the bag. Many of us proposed to pay for an economic stability plan by establishing a financial stabilization escrow account paid for by a small transaction fee on security trades. This would protect the taxpayer and give any plan the financial muscle required for success.
“Instead, total responsibility for this crisis is transferred to the middle class. The risk of this proposal is simply too great. The burden on Vermonters is simply too heavy. Vermonters should not get caught in the undertow of greed on Wall Street.
“Resolving our economic problems will take more than a quick-fix, taxpayer funded bailout. It will take a return to the core truth Vermonters know: our economic policies must focus on building and preserving our middle class. We must reward work and entrepreneurship, not speculation, market manipulation and corporate self dealing."
No word yet on how Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) or Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) felt about the House package, but it's rather moot at this point.
In the past week, Sanders has garnered national attention thanks to a petition he's circulated calling for any bailout plan to include measures that would protect the middle class. Roughly 30,000 people have signed the petition.
Sanders is also asking for a five-year, 10 percent surtax on income over $1 million a year for couples and over $500,000 for single taxpayers. His office says such a measure would yield more than $300 billion in revenue to cover losses the government will incur when it resells troubled mortgages it acquires from banks.