By Fidel "Butch" Montoya
Like most other folks, I have been terribly concerned and confused by the Wall Street mess and the bailout by the American taxpayer. Looking at the issue simply as a selfish one, and asking the question, what does the bailout do for me and what do I get out of it?
I have read the news articles about the back door meetings with members of Congress and the Bush Administration Treasury officials. At some points in the meeting, it has been reported that you could hear a pin drop as the shocked and frightened members of Congress heard of the alternatives if they could not saddle the tax bill on the tax payer.
There was talk of a global financial meltdown and of a great depression for our country. Treasury officials were worried about more bank failures, perhaps even causing a run on the banks as panicked consumers looked to get their money out of failing banks.
Perhaps all of the scenarios did not look good at that point, but what concerns me the most is how we allowed our banking and investment institutions to get to this point. It does not make sense that our country would allow banking executives to play so loose with our country's financial and banking industry? How could this happen?
Now we are talking about a more than $750 Billion dollar bailout, guaranteed by American taxpayers, and this is supposedly only the beginning of the "investment the American taxpayer must make in our economy."
Some financial experts say there are plenty of suspects as to who is responsible for the collapse of several financial icons and bankruptcies of American companies we all thought represented integrity and honor among financial institutions.
Imagine the horror as thousands, hundred of thousands employees saw their companies, collapse and basically overnight disappear from the Wall Street scene. There was video of employees walking out of tower offices, carrying a box of belongings. The end of their careers, at least with some of these companies.
While there was enough human drama and stories that could break your heart as employees felt the world had just ended, the ugly question remained, who was responsible for this collapse? Who would put our country in such peril if we are to believe all the end of the world scenarios outlined for Congress members?
It seemed so easy to just assume that the taxpayer would accept responsibility for the failure, man made failures by banking institutions.
After reading time and time again, how top corporate executives often walked away from their failing companies with "golden parachutes" worth millions of dollars, it just didn't seem right when it happened. While rank and file employees faced financial peril, there was no one to look out for their interests.
And for me that is the central point of concern. While the bigwigs lived high in the penthouses of New York City, ate at all the fancy restaurants, and lived the lives of Kings and Queens, the rest of us have had to eat our losses and pay higher taxes with no one willing to bail us out.
Just once it would have been nice to see a bank tell a customer who was in mortgage default, "Don't worry, we will let you pass this month, and we are considering writing off your bad loan."
Millions of Americans are losing their homes due to mortgage defaults, thousands are losing their jobs, GM, Ford, and other car manufacturers are close to bankruptcy or in bankruptcy, airlines flying with so much red ink, it is frightening, and yet, I don't see any efforts being made to help individual American taxpayers who need help the most right now.
For someone who is losing their job, their home, their future, it could very well feel like a depression, a personal financial meltdown, and no help in sight.
I hope the politicians come clean on this bailout....a word the government does not want us to use, because it creates the impression we are bailing out private capitalist enterprises, and since when do we owe the business fat cats our support?
Perhaps I don't understand all the repercussions and the fate that awaits our economy, but where was the President, the Congress, the Treasury Department, and the candidates for federal offices? Why are we paying our elected officials if they seem to not know how to protect our country's financial resources and future?
Meanwhile, I am waiting for my mortgage banker to call me and say, "we are writing off your loan. Have a happy day, and by the way, if you need another loan or credit card, don't be afraid, just ask."
Fidel "Butch" Montoya
H. S. Power & Light Ministries - Latino Faith Initiative
Denver, Colorado 80212