The financial meltdown requires far-reaching Green solutions, say Green Party leaders
GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614, firstname.lastname@example.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, email@example.com
Green presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney speaks out on the crisis, offers a ten-point plan: http://votetruth08.com/index.php/learn/mckinney-messages
The collapse and bailout of financial institutions expose the lies behind deregulation and the free-market ideology; Greens insist that the burden of the $900 billion bailout not be placed on working Americans
WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders and candidates, including presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney, are calling for extensive measures and reforms to resolve the economic crisis caused by the collapse of mortgage providers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, investment banks Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, American International Group (AIG), and other financial companies.
"The takeovers, $900 billion bailout, and other actions that President Bush are taking right now confirm what Greens have said all along. Deregulation and other 'free-market' solutions are a recipe for disaster," said Abel Tomlinson, Arkansas Green Party candidate for Congress (3rd District) (http://www.abelforcongress.com).
"Perhaps the gravest danger is that the burden placed on the FDIC [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation] and the commercial banks and the continuing bailouts to prevent the meltdown from hemorrhaging will be paid for by middle- and low-income US taxpayers. Meanwhile the execs responsible for the crisis will get to keep their huge bonuses, pensions, tax breaks, and other handouts," said Mr. Tomlinson.
Greens noted another serious danger, that the bailout will drain money that should be used to keep Social Security secure.
"Instead of the bromides, unconvincing reassurances, and ineffective half-measures that we're hearing from John McCain, Barack Obama, and their fellow Republicans and Democrats, we need to take drastic steps. We need Green measures to fix a system that doesn't work," said Steve Alesch, Green candidate for Congress in Illinois (13th District) (http://www.votesteve.org).
Cynthia McKinney released a statement on Friday on the crisis, with a ten-point list of solutions and reforms, titled "Seize the Time" (http://votetruth08.com/index.php/learn/mckinney-messages).
Agreeing with Ms. McKinney's proposals, Greens said that the White House and Congress must:
Pay for the massive transfer of wealth without placing the greater burden on working people and the poor. Those who made huge profits from the financial policies that led to the meltdown should be expected to pay for the major portion of the bailout, through the closing of tax loopholes and repeal of Bush tax cuts for top income earners, caps on CEO salaries and bonuses and on the corporate tax deductability of excessive CEO salaries and bonuses, and recovery of exorbitant payouts that financial industry executives have given themselves in recent decades, as well as a windfall proft tax on oil companies.
In bailing out financial institutions and absorbing their debt, assert the US government's assumption of equity/ownership over them in exchange (as was done with AIG), and replace the secret negotiations and backroom deals that pervaded the industry with transparency and democratic control. "The Federal Reserve is becoming the lender of last resort. This means that the people are becoming the owners of the primary instruments of US capital and finance. This now means that the people have a say in how these instruments are to be used and what their priorities ought to be. The people should now have more say in how their tax dollars are spent and what the priorities of government and the public sector must be. We the people must now set our demands to ensure and promote the public good," said Cynthia McKinney in her statement.
Stop appointing Treasury Secretaries, Federal Reserve board members, and other top financial policy-makers whose chief loyalties are to the major financial corporations from which they're recruited. Restructure semi-private and private institutions like the Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac to be owned, run, and staffed strictly for the public interest. "[T]he Federal Reserve should operate in the interests of the US taxpayer and not the interests of the private, international bankers that it currently represents. This, of course means that the Federal Reserve, too, must undergo a fundamental ownership and mission change," said Ms. McKinney.
Impose a moratorium on foreclosures now before increases in the adjustable rate mortgage interest increases take effect; eliminate all adjustable rate mortgages; renegotiate the latter as 30- or 40-year loans; establish new mortgage lending practices to end predatory and discriminatory practices.
Promote an economy that's based on sustainability rather than on lending and borrowing beyond one's means. Raising the debt ceiling will lead to greater potential liability and further economic meltdown.
Establish criteria and construction goals for affordable housing; massively increase funding for housing programs that assist tenants (e.g., Section 8, public housing) that have been slashed repeatedly since the Reagan Administration. Recognize shelter as a right according to the UN Declaration of Human Rights, to which the US is a signatory.
Redefine credit and regulate the credit industry so that discriminatory practices are eliminated. Fully fund initiatives to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in home ownership.
Establish a fund to cushion job loss and provide for retraining of those at the bottom of the income scale as the economy transitions.
Increase taxes on corporations so that they pay their fair share and deny federal subsidies to those who relocate jobs overseas. Repeal NAFTA and renegotiate trade agreements so that national and local economies, jobs, human rights, and the environment are protected.
End military-industrial complex handouts. Major cuts in military contracts -- especially if combined with a quick withdrawal of US troops and military contractors from Iraq and Afghanistan -- will provide a huge windfall.
Downsize the insurance industry. Corporate health insurance is not an essential service and can be replaced with a single-payer national health care program that would drastically cut health care costs, since the profit-taking insurance and HMO middle-men would be eliminated.
Introduce creative ideas to democratize the financial industry, with alternative models such as public banks and insurance firms, consumer/worker ownership of such companies, and restructuring that would use the financial industry to promote conservation projects, transition to non-fossil-fuel energy and ecologically sound infrastructure, and creation of millions of jobs related to these efforts.
Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
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Green Party Speakers Bureau http://www.gp.org/speakers
Green Party ballot access page http://www.gp.org/2008-elections
Cynthia McKinney/Rosa Clemente 'Power to the People' Campaign for the White House
Cynthia McKinney on video
Press conference, September 10 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_5ivgS4asc
Speech in Denver, August 24: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPxgcjOjUEc
Music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx1NPlQjkqo