I mentioned on Twitter last night that I had emailed both of my senators in hopes that if enough of us called and wrote that we might be able to change their minds on the bailout. I received a reply this morning, which is below. My comments are in bold. I still think the bill was a bad one and while I certainly don’t understand all of the ramifications of huge economic issues like this I do understand what spending another $700 billion dollars is.

Dear Mr. Miles : 

Thank you for contacting me regarding the turmoil in our financial markets and the actions taken by the United States Treasury as they pertain to several leading financial institutions. It is good to hear from you. 

           This is the most serious and critical domestic issue I have dealt with in my 14 years in Congress. We have been betrayed by many people and by abuse of the system. Now we have two significant choices to make – do nothing or take action. Taking stupid action might be worse than taking none at all.

           I strongly believe that doing nothing will destroy the financial security of millions of Americans and possibly lead us into a depression. I just as strongly believe the bill as now negotiated will arrest the crisis and begin to turn our economy around. I have to disagree with this but then again I have debt as well. Perhaps if we as a country lived a cash existence for a couple of years we might learn to do it right.

           The bill that I voted for is not a bailout. H.R. 1424, “The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act,” is crafted to address the crisis; restore security for the American taxpayer; and return our nation to the strongest economic power in the world. And in the process this bill enables us to root out and punish those who cheated us all. Yes, it is a fucking bailout. While it might ‘punish those who cheated’ I doubt seriously that a damn thing will happen to the politicians who made it happen on BOTH sides of the aisle since the Carter Administration.

           I know that my vote in favor of this package was not the politically popular thing to do, but this is not a popularity contest.  This is about the future of our country and the future that my children and grandchildren will inherit.  I have absolutely no doubt in my mind or my heart that my vote in support of this measure was the right thing for our economy, for Georgians, and for our country. I do believe that in your heart you thought you were doing the right thing but I seriously can’t believe you aren’t in a popularity contest with the rest of the guys up there that are scrambling to keep their jobs now.

My first reaction was one of anger and frustration. How could this happen in the strongest economy in the world? How could the best financial system in the world fail? After calming down, I realized the seriousness of the situation and the consequences of Congress failing to act. Good, I am angry as well, angry that you helped us along this path along with your cronies.

The Treasury Department submitted a proposal to Congress requesting authority to purchase troubled assets from financial institutions. This program was intended to address the root cause of the market stresses by removing these assets from the financial system. Removing them from the financial system? They aren’t being removed. They are being shifted out onto honest hard-working Americans. Here, have another shit sandwich folks.

I did not support the original proposal submitted by the Administration because it did not address the critical needs of the American taxpayer, community banks, retirees, and small businesses and it concentrated too much power in a small group to administer the plan. And this pile of steaming shit does?

As the conversations in Washington and across the nation continued over how to address the challenge before us and as the details of the problems in our financial sector were revealed daily, I became convinced that something had to be done and done soon.  

Moreover, when the House rejected the plan, the economy suffered a $1.2 trillion dollar blow in the stock market, which only made more apparent the impact this credit crunch is having on Main Street . Specifically, in some cases, Georgia community banks are unable to make auto loans. Perhaps they need to stop making the loans and let people purchase what they can actually pay for. The reason that the economy suffered a blow is because the people on Wall Street freaked out. I invest for the long term myself and can suffer a temporary setback which is exactly what the rest of the investors need to be doing as well. Fuck the people that can’t get auto loans. There are enough used cars out there that they shouldn’t suffer. Perhaps they should try walking to work, particularly in light of the fact that we can’t get gas in Georgia right now anyway.

Below are details of the legislation: 

           TAXPAYERS ARE PROTECTED. In its current form, the legislation before the Senate protects taxpayers in many ways. Accountability, safeguards, and oversight measures are numerous. There will be transparency, public reports, and triggers to end the program if, for some reason, it is not effective or end the program early if it is more successful. Moreover, I worked to negotiate a mechanism to stop all transfers of taxpayer funds if necessary. That said , I believe this legislation will be effective. What safeguards? Exactly. Accountable to whom? What mechanism? Details please.

           NOT A BLANK CHECK. I opposed the President’s initial request to simply give a blank check to Secretary Paulson. I also opposed the second version submitted by the President and Congressional Democrats that would have given taxpayer money to liberal groups such as ACORN. Let me be clear – this current bill, the bill in the Senate, is not a blank check for anyone. First, it allows the release of $250 billion to purchase these toxic loans. Then, Congress can release another $100 billion but only with Presidential involvement and certification that it is necessary. And only if absolutely necessary and again with Presidential certification and Congressional approval, the remaining $350 billion could be released. However, I do not believe the entire $700 billion authorized will be necessary or used. If private investors don’t want to purchase these ‘toxic loans’ what in your right minds makes you think it’s a good idea for the government to do so? Let the banks sell them on the county courthouse steps. You say that you don’t believe the entire $700 billion won’t be necessary. When did a government agency ever NOT use the entire amount of money granted to them. I say that $700 billion won’t be enough and some time next year the Treasury Secretary will be begging for more.

           NO GOLDEN PARACHUTES. CEOs and other executive officers who drove their companies into the ground
will not be able to walk awa
y with millions leaving taxpayers holding the bill. Those companies that choose to participate in the program will be subject to strict compensation limits. No Golden Parachutes? Most of them already have their golden parachutes. Is the Federal Government going to prosecute them, freeze their assets and take back the billions of dollars that have already been taken?

           NO NEW GOVERNMENT SPENDING. The language is clear – all revenue generated through the repayment of any assets purchased and any sold must be used to pay down the national debt. No money will go to pork projects, new government spending, or liberal groups such as ACORN.  What guarantee do we have that ANY money will be made from these toxic properties?

           HELP FOR MAIN STREET . As this crisis continues, community banks are being affected more and more. Car loans and home loans, even to those with good credit, are drying up. People are losing their retirement savings. Small businesses are now having difficulty getting loans to make payroll or grow their business to create new jobs. If we allow this to continue, jobs will be lost, more retirement accounts will be impacted, and credit will get even tighter. Loans to make payroll? They should be paying people above the bottom line, out of their profits. That’s how you operate a GOOD business.

           PUNISH CRIMINALS. The Federal Government is actively investigating cases of fraud and abuse. Where wrongdoing is found, the perpetrators, including, if implicated, members of Congress will be brought to justice. We have already seen subpoenas issued for records at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This bill demands cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and I expect we will see more subpoenas and criminal prosecution. Does this include all of the politicians and other assorted criminals that made it possible, like Barack Obama?

           ADDRESS THE UNDERLYING CAUSE WHILE WE TREAT THE SYMPTOMS. We are seeing the symptoms now – lack of trust in the banking industry, daily tightening of the credit markets, losses in personal retirement accounts – and while this legislation addresses those issues, it also goes further to treat the cancer that got us here. This legislation authorizes the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to modify the ‘mark to market’ accounting procedures that magnified this crisis by forcing banks to mark down the value of assets they had no intention of selling in the near future. This mark down of value caused a corresponding loss of value to the institutions. The SEC has already begun the process to modify this procedure. 

           RETURN TRUST IN THE BANKS. By increasing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) protection on bank accounts from the current $100,000 to $250,000, taxpayers and bank customers can once again trust that their money is safe in the bank of their choice. 

            DEBT REPAYMENT. Toxic loans will be purchased at a discount and 100% of the monies repaid to the government will go to reduce the debt we incur in this process. While we shouldn’t expect full repayment, it is possible that all of the money expended will be repaid. Why shouldn’t we expect full repayment?

           PROTECT OUR NATIONAL SECURITY. If we do not act and this crisis spreads like a cancer to every segment of our economy, it will destroy not only taxpayer savings but it will erode our ability to fund our military, supply our troops with the resources they need, and protect our homeland. Oh, here we go. Tie it to National Security. Where exactly is the money coming from? Printing more money devalues the U.S. dollar and as far as I know we don’t have the extra cash just lying around except for in the retirement accounts of the politicians and CEOs of these companies.

           NO TIME FOR POLITICAL FINGER POINTING. There is plenty of blame to go around but now is not the time to throw stones, now is the time to address this crisis and get our economy moving again. NOW IS EXACTLY THE TIME FOR POLITICAL FINGER POINTING. We need to drive these assholes from both parties that caused this and elect more folks like Jim DeMint in the senate and Ron Paul in the House of Representatives.

            FOR THE COUNTRY; NOT POLITICAL POPULARITY. This is not a popularity contest, this is a crisis. And since this crisis began, I have had numerous conversations with economists, community bankers, small business owners, and taxpayers. I have weighed the costs of inaction versus the costs of unpopular action. I support this bill because it is good for the country, it is the right thing to do today for taxpayers and tomorrow for my children and grandchildren, and it is necessary to get our economy moving again. 

            Strong capital markets are vital to a prosperous U.S. economy and given the renewed focus of our regulators and market participants, I remain confident in our financial markets and our overall economy. 

However, history warns us against inaction by hard lessons learned. Delaying to act would be a repeat of the mistakes of the 1920s, when thousands of banks failed before significant confidence was restored to our financial markets. 

If you would like to receive timely email alerts regarding the latest congressional actions and my weekly e-newsletter, please sign up via my web site at: www.chambliss.senate.gov <http://www.chambliss.senate.gov> . Please let me know whenever I may be of assistance. 

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