Why the Bailout Vote May Fail

By David Swanson

Today’s vote on the Paulson Plunder Act of 2008 may fail. It should. You should help block it by phoning your representative right now at (202) 224-3121 and promising to vote for them in November only if they vote NO on this grand larceny today. We do have a chance at winning on this and blocking this bill. Here’s why.

First, the corporatists have put a bunch of true believers in office. They thought it’d be really clever to convince people that government is evil and should shrink and that the highest good is cutting taxes. They’ve carved out a huge loophole for the biggest increaser in spending, taxes, and debt: the military. But Congress Members are notorious for not being able to think straight in the presence of tanks and waving flags. Today’s vote is not on eliminating a useful public program, and not on putting our grandchildren into debt in order to kill some foreigners either. Today’s vote is on whether we should put our grandchildren into debt in order to give a pile of money to the same crowd that is always demanding that people be held responsible for their mistakes, and some of the money could even go to multinational or foreign billionaires. That last point picks up opposition from the true believers in xenophobia, who — when combined with the true believers in cutting taxes except for wars — make up a good chunk of the Congress.

Second, there are remnants of true belief in a principle or two in the shriveled souls of some of the Democrats too. There are those in Congress who still cling to the belief that somehow they are there to do good for people. For almost two years, Democrats have voted for blood and plutocracy because their party leaders have told them it was for the greater good. But there are some claims that even a Democrat won’t believe. In fact, some of them are actually angry about being lied to so many times by Bush and Cheney and their own party. They’re sick of being rushed into fraudulent unconstitutional actions by imaginary emergencies, bullying, and bluffs. They’re even beginning to be vaguely aware of the danger that lies in transferring the powers of Article I of the Constitution to the White House. Congress has given up the power to make laws, the power to make war, the power of impeachment and oversight, as well as the power of the purse. This bill hands the purse to the White House, giving up all pretense that Congress serves any purpose beyond that served by court jesters. There are members of Congress whose heads a glimmer of that realization has begun to penetrate.

Third, it’s too late for party leadership to do significant damage to a Congress member’s reelection chances as retribution for a No vote, but it is not too late for each member to significantly damage their own chances with a Yes vote. They know that, and we know that, and if we keep telling them over and over they may act on it.

Fourth, while Congress has largely accepted that the single most important question is who becomes president next, that question is not more important to any Congress member than his or her own reelection, and there is no clear way in which a Yes vote benefits one presidential candidate over another, since they both plan to vote Yes. This should leave members of the House free to vote No.

Fifth, while many Congress members are openly in the pay of the companies that stand to benefit from this biggest ever reverse bank heist, they have not been bribed to support this specific plan, and they can oppose it without necessarily giving up much of their dirty campaign income.

Sixth, the American people are sick to death of everything that has happened in Washington in the past decade. There is a huge source of political good will waiting to be tapped by those who stand up and say No to corporate socialism, no to fascism, no to George W. Bush and Hank Paulson.

Call Washington now and make sure your Congress member is aware of this: (202) 224-3121.

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