Gender, Race, and the Bailout (Cali NOW)

From the blog of California NOW:

As we all know, the $700 billion bailout plan failed in the House of Representatives yesterday, sending stock prices plummeting. Both Democrats and Republicans voted for and against the bill, with many different and even conflicting reasons behind their votes. However, one fact stands out: looks like the congressfolks who voted for the bailout plan received, on average, 54% more money from banks and financiers than those who voted against it.

Now Congress has gone back to the drawing board to try to work out a compromise, and although there are many theories on how that may look, nothing concrete has been determined yet.

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone had come up with a rescue plan that worked from the bottom up, to help the little people rather than the fat cats? Well someone did, and that someone is Cynthia McKinney, Green Party candidate for President. Here’s another take on what a progressive bailout would look like.

For many of us, the recession isn’t something we can look at as preventable, because it’s happening right now. There’s a pretty good chance that the economy is going to keep getting worse for many of us, regardless of the eventual bailout plan. This is especially true in California, because the long-overdue state budget was based on economic figures that failed to take into account the slowdown of the economy.

According to the National Women’s Law Center, “Women feel the impact of economic insecurity and rising food, energy, education, and health care costs more deeply than men – and see government as a key to the solution.” Women are also more at risk of foreclosure, because they have a higher share of subprime loans.

And speaking of subprime loans, there appears to be an attempt by conservatives, led by Ann Coulter, to shift blame for the crisis away from deregulation and company greed, and towards the real victims, the homeowners who were encouraged to take out risky loans for which they were unqualified.

Tied into this is a clearly racist angle. “If only,” the thinking seems to go, “responsible companies hadn’t been forced to give loans to immigrants, Latin@s, and African Americans!” There’s just one problem with that logic: most of the subprime loans did not go to people of color.

Just like blaming welfare on people of color, when most people on welfare are white, the racism in the new “analysis” of the financial crash has a lot of popular appeal. We see the same tactic in the recent proposal of Louisiana state Rep. John LaBruzzo to pay low-income women to be sterilized.

Read the rest of the blog posting.

Why One Congressman Voted Against the Bailout

Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) made several important points in his explanation of why he voted “no” on the bailout:

* The bill would have given $700 billion to the same administration that got us into this mess in the first place;

* Even Bernanke says that only $150 billion or so will be needed over the next 6 months or so, so why not let a new administration formulate a longer-term plan?

* There are other pressing needs in this country that should come before bailing out “Wall Street powerbrokers who got greedy and took advantage of the system.”

Read his full statement here.