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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison: The Bail-Out and the Senate Cop-out on Extending Unemployment Benefits

I wrote Senator Hutchison, who I personally support to unseat Governor Rick Perry of Texas in 2010, about two issues. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and the outrage of the Senate refusing to even consider extending Unemployment Insurance Benefits. This despite the House OVERWHELMINGLY passing their Unemployment Benefit Extension Bill 368-28!

The Senate, with the Presidential Candidate clout of McCain, Obama, and Biden (remember, Obama and Biden supposedly CARE about the "little people". McCain's a Republican: we ALL know they hate us and wish we were dead.) apparently were too busy or uninterested, and let certain Senators block the bill from even being brought to the Senate floor, let alone voted upon!

It is now said a lame duck session of Congress will be held after the election and, among others, the Unemployment Benefit Extension Bill would be reintroduced.

Hopefully, a little time away from Washington in their home states will cause these compassionate legislators to realize the RECESSION started over a year ago and the DEPRESSION is right around the corner.

Maybe when they see all the boarded up businesses, actually talk to the people that voted them in, they'll realize the American People, ESPECIALLY the Unemployed in today's "job market" need HELP!

I urge each and every one of you to contact YOUR Senators around the country NOW and lets get this bill through!

It's easy: Google them, find their official website, and most have a comment form you can fill out. They even give you phone numbers and email addresses! Help your neighbor...or yourself. Act now!

When I contacted Senator Hutchison after the Senate arrogantly ignored the Unemployment Insurance Benefit Extension, I made the mistake of talking about it as the second item...and I did go on "a little" about bail-out, so her response which I just received reflects her thinking at the time on that and the Unemployment Insurance Benefit Extension got lost in my message. I wrote her again today just on that issue.

As we know, the main reason for the lame duck session is to "tweak" the bail-out so that the Government gets an ownership interest in the banks and institutions we bail out.

Good idea, bad idea....I do know America has gone from a Representative Republic to a Republic where the Representatives spend most time representing themselves, towards Fascism since 9/11 and now apparently Socialism. It's getting harder to keep track. But we sure aren't the America envisioned when the Constitution was written!

This is Senator Hutchison's reply....keep in mind a lot of thinking has changed in the last 48 hours on the how the bail-out should be structured, but these were her thoughts at the time she wrote them. I HAVE some additional thoughts after her response too!

Dear Mr. Unloadingzone:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. I welcome your thoughts and comments on this issue.

On September 19, 2008, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced a plan by the Bush Administration to stabilize the financial services sector of the economy. This plan included broad authority for the Treasury Secretary to purchase troubled financial instruments with very limited oversight and few protections for taxpayers.

In July, I voted against a similar proposed bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because it did not provide taxpayer protection and limits on executive compensation for a government owned entity. For the same reasons, I was not willing to support the Administration’s initial proposal, and I encouraged my colleagues to continue work on a plan that would protect taxpayers, provide strict oversight, and place limits on the benefits to executives who accept taxpayer assistance.

In the days following the Treasury Secretary’s announcement, concerns about the danger to the broader economy deepened. The high-profile failure of numerous financial institutions caused the commercial lending market to accumulate and hold cash. The credit markets effectively froze, making it difficult for consumers to obtain loans for purchases such as homes and automobiles. The lack of lending in these areas began to place further pressure on the troubled housing market and threatened to spread deeper into the economy. Similarly, many small and mid-sized businesses were finding it difficult to obtain financing to meet their payroll obligations and purchase inventory. Many cities were entering the bond market and getting no bids, even with AAA ratings. The current liquidity crisis still poses a real potential for significant job losses. After consulting with numerous financial experts, small businesses, and bankers in Texas, it became clear to me that normal commercial lending activity would not resume without action by Congress.

Despite this realization, I was still not inclined to support the Paulson plan. After weeks of negotiation, however, a bi-partisan compromise was reached. While there are provisions in the bill that I do not favor and would not have drafted, overall the need for action to stabilize the market and to protect the retirement savings of millions of Americans weighed heavily on my mind. Ultimately, I supported the Senate bill along with 73 of my colleagues. The bill we passed was a major improvement over the initial plan announced by Secretary Paulson.

We increased the deposit insurance cap from $100,000 to $250,000 so that families will have added protection for savings and retirement accounts. While the initial proposal authorized up to $700 billion to purchase distressed assets, the measure we passed takes a more cautious approach, initially authorizing $250 billion and requiring the approval from Congress and the President for additional funding. Importantly, the bill we passed includes restrictions on the benefits received by executives whose companies are selling some of their distressed assets to the government. In return for purchasing the assets, taxpayers will obtain an ownership stake in the companies. Many leading economists believe that the real estate market will turn around in the foreseeable future and government owned properties and assets will be sold at a profit. A provision in this bill that I supported requires any profits realized to be placed in the nation’s treasury to reduce the deficit. If, however, after five years the government is facing a loss in the program, the President must submit a plan to Congress recommending how the money will be recouped from financial services companies. I believe that these protections are a dramatic improvement over the Administration’s initial proposal.

The bill passed by the Senate included an important package of tax policy provisions. One of these provisions is an extension of the state and local sales tax deduction, which is a matter of fairness for states like Texas that do not have a state income tax. The average Texan will save $520 when they file their federal income tax forms next year. We also shielded low and middle-income taxpayers from higher taxes associated with the flawed alternative minimum tax (AMT) and included tax incentives to spur energy production and innovation including the wind energy production tax credit and the research and development tax credit.

As Texans, we have learned to take responsibility for our actions and being asked to pay for the mistakes of others is something many, including myself, find deeply troubling. However, after careful deliberation, I believe that the risks associated with doing nothing outweighed the risk of passing a less than perfect bill that nevertheless includes important protections for taxpayers. Economic evidence clearly suggested the problems were spreading into the broader economy. That is why I voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act.

I appreciate hearing from you. Please do not hesitate to contact me on any issue of concern to you.


Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator

284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

202-224-5922 (tel)
202-224-0776 (fax)

Aside from the argument of why all this happened in the first place, the only two sentences in her letter which disappoint me; and I'll bet they're a common belief of everyone in Washington, including our so-called Presidential-calibre Candidates, are these two:

Economic evidence clearly suggested the problems were spreading into the broader economy.

Many leading economists believe that the real estate market will turn around in the foreseeable future and government owned properties and assets will be sold at a profit.

Senator, Washington in general: the problems have been spreading into the broader economy for over a year now!

Because of that, the housing crisis will not turn around unless you consider the "foreseeable future" at least 10 years away.
The cash-rich buyer will profit, but with credit virtually unavailable to mainstream America, especially mortgages without big cash deposits they no longer have or can earn, the Government will be forced to reduce the prices on the homes as time goes by. I assume the Government will be paying the local property taxes on the homes they take over and keeping their lawns mowed? Maintenance is going to add up the more properties you buy; year after year.

For those still with jobs, wages (unless you're a civil servant) have been flat while gas prices went through the roof. Here in Texas, Governor Perry is hell-bent on turning every road into a toll road, the dollar is next to worthless so prices for imports are higher. People have been cutting back on expenses a long time to just make ends meet.

At the same time, companies all over America are closing, downsizing, doing everything they can can to cut costs; unemployment and especially underemployment are a huge problem and have been.

Governor Perry, up until recently, has been bragging month after month about the new jobs created in Texas. What he neglects to mention is the overwhelming majority of these "new jobs" are entry-level, minimum wage, or 100% commission sales only!

And the overwhelming majority of jobs LOST were skilled and/or middle to upper level positions. I'm one of the original members of the largest (25MM members) professional network site:

The tone has changed ominously on LinkedIn in recent months.

Especially in the Group Discussion Boards but even in the Global Question and Answer sections: professionals used to share ideas, information, and ask business questions.

NOW more and more are asking who is hiring....some literally begging for a job.

Top Professionals in their fields with so many initials after their names it fills three lines: our best and brightest; these people can't find work! Unless of course, they want to pick and pack orders in a warehouse for minimum wage. That's Job Creation, Texas-style, under Governor Perry.

OVER 1.5 MILLION Mexicans, both legal and illegal have gone BACK to Mexico because there is no work! The legal shouldn't have had to and the illegal shouldn't have been here in the first place, but that's besides the point. The fact they are leaving America for lack of jobs is a very scary thing.

Not EVERYONE over-bought on a home and ran their credit cards up with luxury items. Most were within their means and saving....until the economy fell apart and unemployment/under-employment was on the rise. Suddenly they found themselves unable to afford what was once responsible.

The rise in credit card debt? People aren't going out and buying boats and home theatre's....they're using their credit cards to buy FOOD and CLOTHING and GAS. They are LIVING on their credit cards. Or were until they hit their limits.

So while we're bailing out all the people and corporations who took advantage of the Federal Government for not FOLLOWING UP after deregulation, the standard of living for the majority of America has been dropping. Retailers are already predicting this will be one of the worst 4th quarters we've ever seen

As Ronald Reagan said, "Trust but Verify." Washington has done neither: they either over-micro-managed so that it takes 10 years to build a nuclear power plant....have to make sure that any snail-darters aren't hurt....or left completely unwatched or ignored because the voters are happy.

Those folks who did overbuy on a home didn't do it to "scam" anyone: they did it because the salesman or mortgage company said "We put together this great program (that makes absolutely no business sense) but will let you afford this house on your income!"

WHERE was Sec. Paulson then? Where was Congress? The President?

The people were happy, times were good, so everyone ignored it, got re-elected, and wasted hundreds of billions of dollars on worthless earmarks and passing bills (in the House so far) that Terrorists are profiting and a THREAT to NATIONAL SECURITY by purchasing tobacco products over the Internet so it has to be banned! (H.R. 4081, S. 1027)
Cigars are exempt, of course: they are many in Congress receive generically packed Cuban Cigars from "interested parties" overseas? Even Jack Kennedy smoked Cubans after HE imposed this; in 2008, ridiculous embargo on Cuba. But that was another post and is another issue.

So WHO do we "blame" for today's situation and the nightmare the next 20 years is going to be economically?

It's the 21st century: We HAVE to blame SOMEONE: the 1960's radicals who found themselves unemployable after Vietnam except as lawyers and college professors have taught us ever since that we are all "victims".

There IS no personal responsibility anymore, Senator Hutchison, to address another point of your response to my inquiry.

The blame rests with ALL of us for different reasons: with the Federal and State Governments who spend recklessly creating bureaucracies that overlap each other in so many areas that there IS no oversight. And politicians more interested in remaining in office than doing the right thing.

The blame lies with Activist Judges who overstep their Constitutional Mandate of interpreting and enforcing the law by using the Bench to MAKE LAW to their personal liking....and the former anti-war activists turned attorneys for the ACLU AND their creation: the Class Action Law Suit. That's where the lawyers get tens, even hundreds of millions in fee's and the people they represented get a coupon for a free pizza.

We blame the capitalist system which, without guard-rails, will happily take advantage of all the above. And why not? It's become human nature in America today: whatever existed of ethics, nobility and honor have been swept into the dustpan of history.

Let's not forget the unregulated and latest players in the capitalist game, the Mainstream Media Mega-Corporations who "edit", "spin", "twist" and generally manipulate the news to serve THEIR Corporate balance sheets.

And we have to blame ourselves, who are so self-involved we don't even know who our neighbors are, who rely on Mega-Media for their "facts" and who don't get upset UNTIL the crisis hits.

THEN they have Washington's attention....THEN it crisis mode time.

THEN Sec. Paulson goes from "everything's fine" to "I need a trillion dollars.....uh, by next week."

So, yes Senator, it bothers me too. But this is America today, not pre-"Great Society"....where Medicare was never supposed to cost more than $23BB. That's when it began. And where will it end?

Employers openly practice age discrimination when it comes to employment, but the Federal Government is running ads saying "Don't retire: it's more fun to work until you die!"

With the baby-boomers hitting 60, HOW are we going to pay the pittance to them we call "Social Security"? Which to add insult to injury, the Clinton administration made TAXABLE? When you include Medicare and add that pittance up times the number of Baby Boomers, the National Debt climbs to, what was it $83 TRILLION? No, I think that's without Medicare included.

Universal Healthcare? The Government should be handing out free cigarettes, junk food and doing everything they can to lower the lifespan of the average American!

How in God's name are we going to be able to afford to pay, not only our existing and ever-increasing national debt, but for Social Security, all the Great Society Programs, AND Universal Healthcare going forward? And lets not forget the other trillion dollar bailouts yet to come......

The SENATE doesn't even think we can afford or even consider Extended Unemployment Benefits!

It's dog eat dog, because everyone BUT Washington saw this coming. It's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. And the only reason we'll survive is because of Globalization. If America defaults on it's debt, it takes the rest of the world with it. Read the paper already has started.

SO GIVE US THE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS EXTENSION BILL! Or preferably, Jobs commensurate with our ability, talents, experience, and training: not minimum wage, Walmart Greeter type jobs that look GREAT statistically, but is killing the spirit of this nation.

We're unable to be self-reliant anymore...not if we played by the rules and did the right thing the last twenty years. Just make sure those printing presses at the Treasury Department are in good working order because this $700 Billion bail-out is only first of that size. The party is JUST starting.

It's a good thing we gave up so many of our true rights and liberties in the name of the never-ending "War on Terror". When everything does finally collapse, the Government will need every fascist resource at it's disposal to keep order.......maybe even "suspend" elections "for a while".

Then all career politicians (I don't include you in this group mindset, by the way) can actually concentrate on the problems without the annoyance of pleasing the voters.

Too bad most of them are mediocre egotists incapable of solving the problems. Maybe they could stop by Walmart and ask the Greeter for his/her advise. The Greeter is probably a lot better qualified to provide real answers than the politician.

Why did you Founding Fathers even bother? We could have just paid the Tea Tax and let Great Britain take care of us, from cradle to grave. The America they envisioned has more than one foot in the grave already.

Good luck in the 2010 election! You have my support and vote...unless I can't afford to get to the polling place. And if you want to mention the Unemployment Insurance Extension to Senator Cornyn if you see him, it would be great if he would support it too.


Mr. Unloadingzone

Oct. 12 2008.

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Mrs. Unloadingzone

Mrs. Unloadingzone
"The Girl of my Dreams"