In recent weeks, as the American people have continued to grapple with a slowing economy and instability on Wall Street, the response to calls for a sweeping economic stabilization plan has understandably been one of anger and frustration. I share that anger.
I’ve personally heard from thousands of Texans, and the complaints have come from all walks of life – retirees on a fixed income, middle-aged men and women working two jobs, small business owners, and thousands of others who have much to lose if the economy continues to slide. I’ve even heard similar frustrations from those who have much to gain if the economic stabilization proposal is passed and credit remains available for economic necessities such as home loans and small business growth.
But who can blame them? The vast majority of Americans play by the rules – they pay their bills on time, file their taxes every April, and budget-and-save for their families accordingly. So they are understandably outraged with the idea that their hard-earned tax dollars, even if ultimately recouped, should go to aid those who engaged in irresponsible, risky, and perhaps even illegal conduct.
And let’s also not overlook the fact that this proposal is being put forward at a time when Congress’ approval rating is already at an all-time low.
So it should serve as a wake up call to every Member of Congress when nearly every major political and economic leader in the country -- the President, the Vice President, the Treasury Secretary, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Democratic and Republican leadership of the House and Senate, and the Democratic and Republican nominees for President – supports this economic stabilization plan and yet, the majority of the American people continue to have deep concerns.
Clearly, the American public’s confidence in their government and financial institutions is broken. They watch as the political parties put partisan brinksmanship and political infighting above the many important issues facing our country. And they watch as Wall Street insiders put their bank accounts over the savings and retirements of their clients, with few consequences.
Many have not forgotten that just two years ago, in 2006, Fannie Mae was found to have intentionally overstated its earnings by $10.6 billion to meet their projected targets. Yet, top executives simply received civil fines, and no criminal charges were ever pursued.