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Robert Kuttner: Get Rid of the Toxic Executives!

The first Bush/Paulson/Pelosi bailout plan to come before Congress was defeated. Wall Street reacted, the Dow plunged, world markets trembled, and we now face a financial future that can at best be described as uncertain.

With the elections a few weeks away, no one—Democrat or Republican—wanted to vote for a bill that was perceived by many as giving a helping hand up to the man from Wall Street while stepping on the face of the man from Main Street. With their jobs at stake, a majority of Representatives killed a bill that may have been the only feasible option out of this mess.

The Republican leadership wasn’t there, and you could have bet the Democrats weren’t going to go all in without significant support from the GOP. So it failed.

But if we can put aside the predictions of gloom and doom (Financial Pearl Harbor? Great Depression II? Financial Armageddon?) for just a moment, the Republicans may have actually done us a favor.

Economist and author Robert Kuttner (Obama’s Challenge: America’s Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency) spoke to host Neal Conan on NPR’s All Things Considered yesterday as the vote was transpiring. They actually get the news of the bill’s defeat in the middle of the interview (at around 05:30), as the vote closed.

Now that we have the chance to take another crack at it, one thing that we absolutely must have, says Kuttner, is “direct government refinancing of home mortgages” a la the Homeowners Loan Corporation, created under F.D.R.’s New Deal.

And, Kuttner goes on, “instead of having government simply buy up toxic securities, and get the toxic securities off the books of these banks, you need to get rid of the toxic executives.”

Listen to the entire program here.


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Happy Holidays from Chelsea Green Publishing!

Today we kick off our Holiday Sale — with 35% off every purchase at our online bookstore. Simply use the code CGS16 at checkout from now until the end of the year. Along with this great discount, we are offering free shipping on any order over $100*. Are there homesteaders or organic gardeners on your […] Read More

You won’t have a revolution if you don’t ask for one. So, what are you waiting for?

Get ready for the era of Big Organizing. In Rules for Revolutionaries, authors Becky Bond and Zack Exley lay out the 22 Rules the fueled the Bernie Sanders campaign and which provide a way forward for activists looking for ways to move forward post-Election Day. This model, which the authors call “Big Organizing” is the […] Read More
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