David Edwards and Nick Juliano
Published: Wednesday October 1, 2008
Democratic House leaders were rightfully rebuked in their attempt to pass an “immoral” bailout plan that would have put Wall Street’s interests above those of average Americans, said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who commended Republicans for helping torpedo the $700 billion package earlier this week.
“I believe in this idea of making sure that the great mass of people get some help. This plan is immoral,” the Ohio Democrat and former presidential candidate told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “This plan is a disgrace. It bails out people on Wall Street who have speculated and who would drive this economy into the ground unless we have some controls on them.”
Kucinich, one of the most liberal House members, predicted the bailout package’s demise before it went down in a dramatic vote Monday afternoon. He said the plan should take “a page out of classic New Deal economics,” and focus more on helping struggling homeowners than Wall Street speculators.
“Help the many and you’ll help the few,” Kucinich said. “But what’s happening is this bailout proposal helps the few at the expense of the many.”
Kucinich was one of 95 Democrats who opposed the bailout package, along with 133 Republicans.
Many conservatives and libertarians have been wary about giving the government such a large role in the financial sector as would happen in the Bush administration’s proposed bailout, which would authorize Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to use taxpayer dollars to buy up assets like troubled mortgages. Democrats blame greedy investors and speculators for stoking the sub-prime mortgage crisis, while many Republicans say too many loans were given to poor borrowers who had little chance of paying them back in the first place.
Kucinich said he was hopeful that a bipartisan deal could be reached to address the financial crisis, and he credited Republican opponents of the proposed deal for at least sticking to their ideological guns.
“Frankly I salute the Republicans who understood that Wall Street ought to be able to fix its own problems,” he told Maddow. “And a bailout would constitute a violation of every free market principle that any Republican ever believed in.”