Dear Mr. S--
Thank you for expressing your concerns with the problems in the financial sector and how we address them.
A lot of Ohioans, including me, are angry at the thought of bailing out people who made a lot of money making bad business decisions that created problems in neighborhoods across Ohio. I agree that we need to avoid rewarding excessive risk taking. These institutions made unwise decisions, and taxpayers should not be expected to simply cover their losses.
On September 20th, Treasury Secretary Paulson sent a proposal to Congress that would have given him almost unfettered authority to spend $700 billion purchasing troubled assets from financial institutions. A few days later, my colleagues on the Banking Committee and I held a hearing at which Secretary Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke, and others testified.
They made a strong case for the need to act quickly to prevent further damage to our economy. The turmoil in the credit markets has the potential to do great damage to a lot of innocent bystanders. I am afraid that if we do not act, the economic instability could affect thousands of American jobs and the savings of countless middle class families.
But Secretary Paulson’s proposal was not the right answer. No Secretary should be given a $700 billion blank check. Taxpayers must be given an opportunity to recover their money, and assurances their tax dollars will not fund lavish pay and golden parachutes. We need strong rules to guard against abuse and we need to ensure that Ohio is helped and not just Wall Street. The legislation adopted by the Senate, with my support, makes each of these changes.
This was a difficult vote. But Ohio has already lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs over the past seven years as our unemployment rate has spiked. Retirement and college savings accounts have shriveled. Credit is becoming more expensive for small businesses. We cannot gamble on even greater economic dislocation.
This week’s vote was not the end of our work on this issue. In the months ahead we need to enact tough rules to govern our financial markets to ensure we never find ourselves in this situation again.
And so there you have it. If you can tell which way he was leaning after reading that, then I'll mail you a cookie. Because, I have to be honest, I couldn't. It wasn't until I found out that he voted FOR the bill that I realized what he was saying was "Yes it sucks, but I don't see any other way out of it right now, so I voted for it." To me, if he had just sent me back that one sentence, I would have been a much happier registered voter.