Please carefully consider both the practical cost and the precedent the US Government would be setting by passing HR 3221 or "The Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008".
A vote for this bill is a vote for a blank check estimated to add an additional $800 Billion to the National Debt and many analysts and economists including our own Comptroller General David Walker have noted that the Federal Reserves response has already effectively given an estimated $300 Billion to the housing industry. As Congressman Ron Paul put it, this would be "the mother of all bailouts".
The US Government's policies and pressures on the banking industry throughout the 1990s and 2000s, and the Federal Reserve's slashed interest rates are directly responsible for creating an environment of artificially minimal risk for banks, which then extended lines of credit to people who would have never previously qualified - yet now the very same government is blaming "corporate greed" for the problems we are now facing.
It's time for Washington D.C. to learn that the meddling of legislature into the market has dire consequences for all involved by mitigating risks which directly contribute to poor judgment on the part of major institutions. We, the American people, cannot afford this bill's passage. We cannot afford the $5 trillion dollars in foreclosure debt, we cannot afford to add to the already extreme national debt, nor can we continue to subsist on the Keynesian mindset of the Federal Reserve and of politicians at large. Practically speaking, this bailout is likely to be the proverbial straw that broke the camels back.
But also from a moral standpoint, companies under American law were always intended to be treated effectively the same as individual citizens. When individuals and companies take on risks, and they pay off - they should be able to reap the benefits of their gamble. But also they need to bear the consequences for their failures. An analogy I used today is quite appropriate actually: From time to time, I buy and sell commodities on eBay. When I purchase an item that I think I might be able to resell, I am taking a risk - if I spend $200 but am at last only able to resell that item for $100, I have taken a loss. But I cannot go to my neighbor and demand that she pay me $100 to make up the difference at gun-point. I would be arrested for that behavior.
Yet that is PRECISELY what congress is attempting to do for Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae - and what it has already done for Bear Stearns.
Unfortunately, where my analogy is a scant 100 or 200 dollars, this bailout is Billions, even Trillions - forcibly taken from the American taxpayer and funneled straight into the hands of giant banks.
Surely you cannot believe that this is an acceptable moral position... Not only does it force those of us who didn't buy into the idea of cheap money and variable interest rate home-ownership to pay for the mistakes of those of us who did, it also shields the banks from having to learn from their mistakes. The passage of HR 3221 would send a message to every bank in America that no matter how stupid a thing they invest in, no matter how poor their lending review process is - the US Taxpayer will always be there to clean up after them. The excessively risky lending behavior of the past 10 years will be but a drop in the bucket compared to the tsunami that will be forthcoming as a result of this legislation.
Furthermore, I can't even begin to address the 270 amendments filled with the most egregious pork-barrel spending/legislating imaginable... What business, for example, do dozens of amendments related to energy policy have in a bill labeled the "Foreclosure Prevention Act"?? Honestly, the whole thing should be rejected outright on those grounds alone...
I personally fear that this bill will almost single-handedly bankrupt the United States and annihilate the value of our currency - which has stood so strong in the world for over 200 years and is now crumbling with each passing day.
Please, PLEASE vote NO on HR 3221. Let the banks and individuals pay for their own mistakes... and in doing so let's begin to salvage what we can of the dollar. The market will correct itself without your help if you let it. It might hurt for a year or two, but that is nothing compared to the damage that this bill will do to the United States in the long term.
Please vote NO.
Sean W. Malone
W. Hollywood, CA
Of course... it's all too late. The bill has passed through the Senate. No response yet from Boxer or Feinstein... as if I will ever hear back from them. "Representative government" my arse! This couldn't be worse for the American people or our economy. The tree of liberty needs refreshing...