No Bailouts for the Wall Street Rich! – Jail ‘Em!

Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA

The U.S. government and international finance capital once again prove that they live by their own version of the ‘Golden Rule’: Protect the gold of those who rule.

Facing the deepest financial meltdown since the Great Depression of the 1930’s, including a series of failures of the major Wall Street firms Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, giant mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the largest insurance company, AIG, the Bush regime is pushing a public $ 700 billion dollar bailout for the private Wall Street firms and banks, with not a dime for any working family that loses its home! Congress is going along with this kind of “blank check” for the corporations at taxpayer expense.

This move is on top of other recent bailouts the ruling elite has desperately used to try to shore up the collapsing system. The sale of Bear Steams to Morgan Stanley was backed by billions of government guarantees of bad loans. AIG was bailed out with $85 billion by the Treasury department. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were directly taken over by the government, a move that could come with a $200 billion public price tag.

As the financial crisis was deepening, the Democrats and Republicans ‘fiddled while Rome was burning”. Almost all regulation and oversight was systematically eliminated from the banking and investment sector.

Those responsible for the mess did just fine. In 2006, the then top five Wall Street firms of Bear Steams, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley (three are now gone!) awarded management employees some $40 billion in Christmas bonuses. The combined wage increases of the 93 million U.S. workers for the six-year period of 2000-2006 was less than one-half of the 2006 holiday bonuses to these Wall Street crooks!

Speculative capital reigned supreme and the vast profits were fueled by sub-prime loans that eventually sunk the housing market. It was a ‘house of cards’, creating nothing productive, waiting to come tumbling down. Today, McCain and Obama, both well funded by the ‘generosity’ of the Wall Street investment banks, offer now way out.

While this economic crisis, largely caused by predatory lending, speculative capital, the oil wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and huge tax breaks for the rich, is wreaking devastation on regular folks, those who led the debacle still have their ‘golden parachutes’. Kerry Killigan, the forced out CEO of troubled Washington Mutual Bank waved goodbye with over $20 million in compensation. The exit package for Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd is over $15 million and ‘poor’ Freddie Mac CeO Richard Syron ‘only’ received $14 million.

Sot what about the rest of us, the workers, the working poor, the oppressed?

We are in chronic and acute economic crisis. Gas prices are running at $4.00/gallon. Some are spending 20% of their income for transportation to work while Exxon Mobil made a record $11.7 billion in profit last year! Food prices are increasing at a gallop. It will cost an average of 61% more to heat a home this year. Aggressive corporate union-busting has made it more difficult to organise unions and maintain strong ones capable of forcing companies to share more of their wealth. Pensions for workers have all but disappeared into the 410K scam. They have now taken a beating from the collapsing stock market. Over 50 million have no health coverage. Official unemployment is rising at the fastest pace in years. Two and three jobs (often temporary ones with no benefits) have become a way of life. Many of us are ‘living to work’ rather than ‘working to live’.

Increasingly we face: Lay offs and loss of income; life savings’ disappearing due to family sickness; entire paychecks going to childcare; elder care that often sinks a family, financially and emotionally; working folks losing their homes and renters losing their apartments. It is projected that over 4 million homes were foreclosed in the last two years, a lost roof over the heads of over 20 million people! Millions more now owe more on their homes than they are worth, with the dream of home ownership evaporating into a nightmare.

In such times of crisis, alcoholism, drug addiction, suicide and divorce all rise and children do more poorly in school. There are no soft landings for the workers and our families. Just a system that says you’re on your own and if you haven’t ‘made it’, it’s your own fault.

People are, and ought to be, outraged at this newest and biggest bailout of Wall Street. But what can we do??

In the short run, organise united front/coalition efforts in our communities, unions, fraternal associations and religious institutions. Rally and fight for:

The financial crisis tragically underscores that the monopoly capitalist system, based on private corporate profit and greed, is corrupt to the core and a parasite on the toiling masses of humanity. This imperialist system is responsible for the U.S. wars of occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. It cannot meet the needs of the majority of mankind. It is our enemy!

Socialism, workers’ power, can provide what the corporations and their Democratic and Republic cronies can never do – a ‘Golden Parachute’ for workers – a system run for the good of the majority that can and will provide guaranteed employment at living wages and safe jobs, cradle to grave quality healthcare, child and elder care for all, free education from pre-school through adulthood, leisure time and the opportunity to live to our full potential in peace, cooperation and harmony with each other the world over.

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