Goodness gracious, Congress is really getting tough on Wall Street bankers, isn’t it?
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown

Goodness gracious, Congress is really getting tough on Wall Street bankers, isn’t it?

In a remarkable act of bipartisan boldness, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein and Republican Senator Olympia Snowe are proposing to impose new conditions on banks that are getting bailout funds from us taxpayers. Would bankers have to start lending out the money to help our economy, rather than just pocketing it? Or maybe the bankers would have to cut their pay, like Congress insisted that autoworkers do?

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No, no – nothing as harsh as all that. Instead, the senators are demanding that the recipients report occasionally to the public, giving us some general idea of what they’re doing with our cash. Whoa, go easy now senators, you, might bruise the bankers’ feelings.

Believe it or not, this is what passes for “tough” when dealing with Wall Street hucksters. Yet, it’s a necessary step, for the ego-maniacal financial giants are imperiously refusing to tell us how they’re spending the billions of dollars Washington has thrown at them. In December, Associated Press asked various recipients where our money went, getting these typical responses:

“We’re choosing not to disclose that,” said New York Mellon, which hauled in about $3 billion.

“We have not disclosed that to the public. We’re declining to,” said JPMorgan Chase, which got $25 billion from us.

“We’re not providing dollar-in, dollar-out tracking,” said Sun Trust Banks, a $3.5 billion winner.

“We’re going to decline to comment,” said Morgan Stanley, after getting $ 10 billion.

“We’re not sharing any other details. We’re just not” said Comerica, which took more than $2 billion from us.

As AP reported, one bank’s spokesman was even closed-mouthed about being closed-mouthed: “I just would prefer if you wouldn’t say that we’re not going to discuss those details.”

Why isn’t Congress demanding that these con artists give our money back?

“Senate bill cracks down on bailout recipients,” www.yahoo.com, December 23, 2008.

“Feinstein, Snowe Will Reintroduce Bailout Recipient Accountability Bill,” www.wordpress.com, December 23, 2008.

“Banks refuse to say how bailout billions being spent,” Austin American Statesman, December 23, 2008.

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