Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Franken Hits Right Notes On Wall Street Bailout

Democrat Al Franken, who is battling Republican incumbent Norm Coleman for the Minnesota Senate seat Coleman has held for one term, has given a simple and perfect set of conditions for going along with the Bush administration's plan to bail out Wall Street firms.

“If we’ve learned anything during the Bush-Coleman era, it’s that when we hand over tax dollars to these folks, we’d better get a receipt," said Franken. "We need to take action to avoid economic disaster - but the era of putting powerful special interests first and ignoring Minnesota’s middle class has got to end.”

Franken then gives the conditions under which he would support a bailout plan:
1. No blank check. “Not one dime should go to this bailout without independent oversight, real accountability, and complete transparency.”

2. Taxpayers get a stake. “If we’re footing the bill for keeping these companies afloat, taxpayers should get an equity stake so that we can share in the benefits when and if they get back on their feet.”

3. No golden parachutes. “In the public sector, there’s no such thing as a golden parachute. And if we’re going to sacrifice $2,000 for every Minnesota taxpayer to bail out these companies, these executives are going to learn about sacrifice, too. So, all excessive compensation, bonuses, and severance agreements are hereby cancelled.”

4. Bring back oversight. “We need to restore the regulatory framework dismantled with George W. Bush in the White House and Norm Coleman in the Senate so that this doesn’t happen again.”

5. Help homeowners. “The foreclosure crisis caused this problem, and we still haven’t taken the steps I’ve been proposing for months to address it. We have to freeze foreclosures and allow bankruptcy judges to re-set mortgages on primary residences.”

6. Protect consumers. “I’m calling for a new Financial Products Safety Commission with similar duties and powers to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”
Simple, straightforward and easy enough for even some Republicans to understand.