Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bailout of Wall Street Called "Socialist", "Communist". Congressman Offers Alternate Plan

Michigan Congressman Thaddeus (Thad) McCotter (R-11) issued the following press release this morning. Good on ya, Thad! [emphasis added ~Ed]
Washington, DC – Representative Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, today released the following statement:

“I was not elected to abet American socialism.

Thus, I am opposing the Bush administration’s taxpayer funded, trillion dollar Wall Street bailout; and, alternatively, proposing a pro-taxpayer, free market, private recapitalization plan for the banking system; ending financial chaos; and preventing the advent of Wall Street Socialism.

Drawn from the free-market ideas of the public and our members, this proposal is premised upon the following principle: Our prosperity is from the private sector not the public sector.

True, some will still assert the administration’s support of Wall Street’s leveraged bailout at taxpayers’ expense is the only answer to this crisis of confidence. They are dead wrong.

First, we must never punish the innocent to profit the guilty.

Secondly, a taxpayer bailout is never the first or only resort. If it is claimed to be so, the object of the bailout is already too far gone to be saved.

Thirdly, this trillion dollar taxpayer bailout will not prevent a Great Depression. It will promote a Greater Depression.

While there exist a host of other reasons, for the sake of brevity let me reiterate: The Paulson Plan is premised upon a public bailout. A better plan is premised upon private recapitalization. Thus, I oppose the Paulson Plan’s raid on the taxpayers; and I will continue fighting to ensure the Wall Street crowd who made this mess pay to clean it up.”
Congressman McCotter is not content to simply criticize the plan on the table; he has drafted a plan of his own, EARN or the "Expedited American Recapitalization - Now" Act:
Expedited American Recapitalization - Now (EARN) Act Proceedings: A sunset bill that makes available to financial institutions a pre-packaged recapitalization (EARN) proceeding in which debt forgiveness is expedited. (This is similar to expedited bankruptcy proceedings. The strike warrant price will determine values.)

Inducement to EARN Proceedings: To induce financial institutions to undergo EARN proceedings, future government recapitalization (if necessary) may not be offered to a financial institution which does not go through an EARN proceeding.

Incentivize Private Recapitalization: If, within a limited one year window (commencing upon this legislation’s enactment into law), a person invests in (i.e., recapitalizes) a financial institution that has undergone an EARN proceeding, this investment over its lifetime is subject to a ZERO capital gains tax rate. If, within the same one year window, a person purchases a toxic asset, this investment over its lifetime is subject to a ZERO capital gains tax rate.

Government Backstop: If no private capital is forthcoming, the government can take a preferred equity stake in an EARN financial institution. No dividends may be paid to any other investor until the taxpayers’ claim is redeemed with appropriate interest. The government shall also hold voting rights, as determined by the percentage of its equity shares owned, in an EARN financial institution only until such time as the taxpayers’ claim is redeemed with appropriate interest. (This addresses CEO salaries and bonuses without permanently vitiating the private sector’s setting of compensation.)

Distressed Homeowner Relief: 5% of all government recapitalization invested in an EARN financial institution must be dedicated to an across-the-board reduction in the face value of “toxic” mortgages. This will help keep people in their homes; stabilize the foreclosure crisis; and begin to stabilize and raise all homeowners’ values.

Non-EARN Financial Institutions: Financial institutions choosing not to participate in an EARN proceeding, may wall off their toxic assets (as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury) which were purchased between December 2003 and August 2007. For these toxic assets, the current mark-to-market rule will be suspended and replaced with a more accurate three year rolling average mark-to-market; and for a fee, insurance of these toxic assets can then be purchased from the federal government. If, within the above referenced one year window a person purchases a toxic asset, this investment over its lifetime is subject to only HALF the capital gains tax rate applicable at present; if the capital gains tax changes, the toxic asset’s purchaser possesses the option, upon alienating the toxic asset, of being taxed at the capital gains rate applicable at the enactment date of this legislation into law.

Market Transparency and Congressional Oversight: To ensure Market Transparency, the Secretary of the Treasury is empowered to examine any and all appropriate financial records at any time of financial institutions and individuals covered under this act; and Congress at any time may request of the Secretary of the Treasury any and all information required to protect the taxpayers’ investment incurred under this act.

End “Too Big To Fail”: Make an express commitment to a future, pro-active regulatory system in which a market share cap provision is imposed upon financial institutions to prevent future taxpayer bailouts and market meltdowns due to entities deemed “too big to fail.”

American Families’ Prosperity Package: Make an express commitment to further American families’ prosperity in a free market future by enacting pro-growth legislation, including, but not limited to: an “all of the above” American energy security plan; income tax and capital gains relief; the repeal of Sarbanes-Oxley; suspend the mark-to-market rule for all financial institutions for six months and replace it with a more accurate three year rolling average mark-to-market; GSE privatization; and dollar stabilization. (See Gingrich and RSC proposals.)

Ultimate Cost to Taxpayers: ZERO!

Bill Perkins, a private, Houston-based venture capitalist placed a $130,000 dollar, full-page ad in the New York Times which consisted only of the following cartoon. Note the demise of Capitalism and Private Enterprise.

Mr. Perkins explains it to Fox Business. Or at least tries to.

David Littman, the brilliant former Chief Economist for Comerica Bank, now with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, wrote a scathing Op-Ed in today's Detroit News (links added by me). In Reject Bailout Rush to Socialism, Littman says,
"The proposed federal intervention (up to a $1 trillion bailout of distressed assets and bonus-paying firms) is the antithesis of what the competitive markets of capitalism would permit."
Yet, to cover their corrupting decisions and past complaisance, Washington's major mouthpieces -- from former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd -- now say that unless we trust them with a new round of our scarce resources, the U.S. economic system will collapse. This rhetoric is meant to panic us into accepting a new federal steward of our hard-earned dollars. But when you dissect the palaver, what you see is a bare-knuckled proposal to further centralize federal control over the marketplace of investments and savings. Such a revolutionary move is socialism. It will not simply be a matter of taxing the rich or those with some ability to pay for the purpose of redistributing shelter to the poor. It will represent an institutionalization of financing immoral behavior.

There may yet be time to stop this debacle, but 'we the people' are going to have to help. Call, fax or e-mail your member of Congress and your Senators. Ditto the White House. Let's demand a free market solution - before it's too late.

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