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Taxpayer Group Hails Defeat of Bailout Package, Plans Next Steps for Sensible Alternatives
For Immediate Release September 30, 2008
Pete Sepp, (703) 683-5700
(Alexandria, VA) -- After helping to mobilize the grassroots movement that defeated the financial industry bailout legislation yesterday in the House of Representatives, the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) called for passage of a more transparent plan that puts greater emphasis on helping the markets help themselves. NTU Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp provided the following comments:
"Yesterday was a milestone for the old-fashioned concept of people power. Citizens have flooded Congressional switchboards with phone calls in the past, on issues ranging from immigration to pay hikes for lawmakers. But never have so many Americans voiced such a strong opinion in such a short period of time than they have with the bailout legislation. This was the day when taxpayers said to Congress, 'Now that we have your attention, will you finally listen to us?'
The way Congress can listen to the American people is to craft a measured, prudent legislative package that eases their fears of a wholesale bailout, helps markets help themselves, increases transparency and oversight, and assures them that government policies will never again contribute so heavily to a financial morass. This means suspending obsolete accounting rules, establishing tighter risk-based standards for any short-term federal intervention, making investment taxes less burdensome, and setting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on a well-defined path to privatization. Other ideas, like a tax-advantaged trading fund for bad assets and creation of a covered bond market, deserve consideration too.
Those who attribute yesterday's stock market losses to the defeat of the bailout package are playing a cynical blame game. Rhetoric on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue has incentivized many bad actors to simply await a rescue rather than face realities. Meanwhile, rational movers and shakers in the financial sector know that 'the markets' will react more positively to a thoughtful proposal developed over a prompt time frame than to a product of hasty legislative deal-making.
Sensible alternatives to the Treasury's bailout plan are on the table right now. It's time for Congress to take a deep collective breath, seriously examine new options for reform, and act accordingly. Washington is fresh out of excuses for not doing the right thing."
NTU's efforts in the past two weeks have included an 11-point letter to lawmakers on bailout alternatives, an online petition for citizens to sign, face-to-face meetings with over 30 Senators and their staffs, and a left-right coalition of more than 40 groups demanding more transparency and oversight provisions in the rescue bill. NTU is a nonprofit, nonpartisan citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: For further details on NTU's work in this area, visit www.ntu.org.