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 Post subject: Bush’s Legacy Of Squandering Taxpayer Money
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:54 am 
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Bush’s Legacy Of Squandering Taxpayer Money

Yesterday, President Bush announced his $700 billion plan to buy out troubled financial institutions. Demanding enormous faith in his administration’s stewardship, the plan “would place no restrictions on the administration other than requiring semiannual reports to Congress, granting the Treasury secretary unprecedented power to buy and resell mortgage debt,” and to hire outside firms “to help manage its purchases.” Further, the proposal provides no oversight mechanism:

Sec. 8. Review: Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Bush is demanding unprecedented control over billions of dollars — with no oversight. His history of mismanaging taxpayer dollars should make Americans skeptical of his buyout plan:

IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION

-$142 million wasted on reconstruction projects that were either terminated or canceled. [Special Inspector General for Iraq, 7/28/08]

-“Significant” amount of U.S. funds for Iraq funneled to Sunni and Shiite militias. [GAO Comptroller, 3/11/08]

-$180 million payed to construction company Bechtel for projects it never finished. [Federal audit, 7/25/07]

-$5.1 billion in expenses for Iraq reconstruction charged without documentation. [Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction report, 3/19/07]

-$10 billion in spending on Iraq reconstruction was wasteful or poorly tracked. [GAO, 2/15/07]

-Halliburton overcharged the government $100 million for one day’s work in 2004. [Project on Government Oversight, 10/8/04]

KATRINA

-Millions wasted on four no-bid contracts, including paying $20 million for an unusable camp for evacuees. [Homeland Security Department Inspector General, 9/10/08]

-$2.4 billion in contracts doled out by FEMA that guaranteed profits for big companies. [Center for Public Integrity investigation, 6/25/07]

-An estimated $2 billion in fraud and waste — nearly 11 percent of the $19 billion spent by FEMA on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita as of mid-June. [New York Times tally, 6/27/06]

-“Widespread” waste and mismanagement on millions for Katrina recovery, including at least $3 million for 4,000 beds that were never used. [GAO, 3/16/06]

DEFENSE CONTRACTS

-A $50 million Air Force contract awarded to a company with close ties to senior Air Force officers, in a process “fraught with improper influence, irregular procedures, glaring conflicts of interest.” [Project on Government Oversight, 4/18/08]

-$1.7 billion in excessive fees and waste paid by the Pentagon to the Interior Department to manage federal lands. [Defense Department and Interior Department Inspectors General audit, 12/25/06]

-$1 trillion unaccounted for by the Pentagon, including 56 airplanes, 32 tanks, and 36 Javelin missile command launch-units. [GAO, 5/18/03]

Given Bush’s history of gross fiscal mismanagement — including an unprecedented number of no-bid contracts and Bush’s resistance to closing fraud loopholes or increasing oversight of contracts — why should Americans trust another $700 billion to his care? Paul Krugman writes, “Let’s not be railroaded into accepting an enormously expensive plan that doesn’t seem to address the real problem.”


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:13 am 
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Rest assured that his plan allows rapid dispersal of needed funds to....his "friends."

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:29 am 
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Meltdown: Voters blaming GOP for financial crisis

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The financial turmoil that has rocked global markets appears to be benefiting US presidential hopeful Barack Obama, according to a new poll released Monday that finds the Democratic candidate pulling ahead of his Republican opponent John McCain with a 51 percent to 46 percent lead.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll also finds that by a two-to-one margin Americans blame Republicans for the current financial crisis.

I am still unable to understand how McSame can have a 46 percent support rating! My GAWD...don't those people who believe he's such a good guy know that he's just the same as Bush? Or do they think Bush in Drag (Palin) is going to be the one who leads them to the Promised Land?

We have become a nation of 46% morons.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:37 am 
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Democracy Now!

Sen. Bernie Sanders, Robert Scheer and Dean Baker on the Proposed $700 Billion Bailout of Wall Street, the Largest Government Bailout of Private Industry in US History

Quote:
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Well, Amy, that’s right. And I think if it’s too big to fail, it probably is too big to exist. And, by the way, among many other things, what we’re doing now with the Bank of America picking up Countrywide and picking up Merrill Lynch, you’re creating another institution which is too big to fail, so that, among many other things, in my view, that we have got to do is to start breaking up these very, very large multinational corporations who continuously put us in this position.

But my main concern—I’ve only got a few minutes here—my main concern is twofold. I mean, for the longest period of time, up to literally a few weeks ago, we had our friends in the Bush administration telling us that the fundamentals of the economy are strong, everything is just fine. And now they tell us we’re on the verge of a major economic meltdown. We’ve got to give Wall Street a $700 billion bailout. And, by the way, of course, it is not going to be the people who have benefited, the people at the very, very top who have benefited financially from Bush’s reckless economic policies who are going to pick up the bailout; it is going to be the middle class, which has been suffering for the last eight years.

So the first point that we have to make is, if a bailout is necessary, it is not going to be, if I have anything to say about it, a working people picking up the cost of this; it is going to be the top one-tenth of one percent, who earn more than the bottom 50 percent. It is going to be all of these people who have made out very, very well under Bush’s reckless policies. So that’s my main concern right now.

Obviously, also we have to ensure that the assets purchased from the banks are realistically discounted, so that we don’t get ripped off in the process, and we have to require that taxpayers receive equity stakes in the bailed-out companies.

Also, I think that we have got to be—we on the left have got to be thinking big and learn a little bit from our right-wing friends who are able to pivot on a dime. For years now, they’ve told us that we can’t afford—that the government providing healthcare to all people is just unimaginable; it can’t be done. We don’t have the money to rebuild our infrastructure. We don’t have the money to wipe out poverty. We can’t do it. But all of a sudden, yeah, we do have $700 billion for a bailout of Wall Street. So, my view is that, included in what we do, there should be a significant stimulus package, a really significant one, which addresses healthcare, which addresses sustainable energy, which addresses the infrastructure, which creates substantial number of jobs, addressing many of the long-term unmet needs of this country.



And that is why I like Bernie Sanders so much!

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:58 am 
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truthout.org

The $700 Billion Questions
Monday 22 September 2008

by: David Sirota, In These Times


Just as they do today at the National Archives' Declaration of Independence exhibit, tourists in the future-perhaps in Beijing, perhaps somewhere else-will line up to see a framed draft of this week's White House legislation demanding Congress surrender its power of the purse, and give an unelected appointee-in this case, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson-the power to hand over $700 billion of taxpayer money to "any financial institution," "without limitation...on such terms and conditions as determined by [him]." In a nation priding itself on separating powers between the branches of government, the bill explicitly states that decisions by Paulson may not even "be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."

Whether the bill passes or not, the drafting of it-even the mere thinking of it-is the single most clear sign that all of the major tenets of American democracy are on the auction block these days: from constitutional checks and balances, to legislative and judicial oversight to electoral accountability itself.


Decisions by Paulson may not even "be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency". If the Dems fall for this one, they don't deserve our votes either.

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