by Max Brantley
The markets don't like it, but it would appear Democrats have learned a lesson about being rushed into precipitous and momentous decisions by President Bush. They have some ideas of their own on a market bailout, including some protections for the little guy.
Still, the swooning market and the big jump in the oil price will make the average person nervous for action now.
But I like Bernie Sanders' ideas:
Let us be clear. If the economy is on the edge of collapse we need to act. But rescuing the economy does not mean we have to just give away $700 billion of taxpayer money to the banks. (In truth, it could be much more than $700 billion. The bill only says the government is limited to having $700 billion outstanding at any time. By selling the mortgage-backed assets it acquires--even at staggering losses--the government will be able to buy even more resulting is a virtually limitless financial exposure on the part of taxpayers.) Any proposal must protect middle income and working families from bearing the burden of this bailout.
I have proposed a four part plan to accomplish that goal which includes a five-year, 10 percent surtax on the income of individuals above $500,000 a year, and $1 million a year for couples; a requirement that the price the government pays for any mortgage assets are discounted appropriately so that government can recover the amount it paid for them; and, finally, the government should receive equity in the companies it bails out so that when the stock of these companies rises after the bailout, taxpayers also have the opportunity to share in the resulting windfall. Taken together, these measures would provide the best guarantee that at the end of five years, the government will have gotten back the money it put out.