When doing what is good for the public and good for the world costs money, companies need laws that force all of the companies to do the right things. Otherwise, the responsible companies have higher costs than the irresponsible companies, so the responsible ones can't compete and go out of business.
Congress is on the brink of making a one-sided deal to give George W. Bush a blank check to bail out financial companies - offering nearly (or perhaps more than) a trillion taxpayer dollars to Wall Street to cover its bad debts (on unregulated investments that Wall Street invented in the first place; like CDOs--Collateralized Debt Obligations, and CDSes--Credit Default Swaps. [Oversimplified, CDOs (originated by Investment Banks like Bear Sterns, Lehman Bros, Morgan Stanley, Merill Lynch, etc) are like mortgage mutual funds but aren't regulated like mutual funds or mortgages, and CDSes (what got AIG in trouble) are like insurance policies but don't require capital reserves like insurance policies do, and aren't regulated, um, at all.] That works out to somewhere between $2000 and $5000 from every American family. So what do the taxpayers get in return?
Nothing. No new regulation or oversight to help avoid this kind of crisis in the future. No public interest givebacks to help people whose homes are in the hands of the banks. Perhaps most shockingly of all, the taxpayers get absolutely no share in the profits if and when these finance giants bounce back, even though we are now assuming a great deal of the risk.
This is worse than a bad deal - this isn't a deal at all. This is a blank check to some of the richest companies in the world.
Remember the Savings and Loan crisis? Please tell Congress not to go sheep-like into this legislation. Free markets are not free without Federal regulations to level the playing field. We're seeing the results of systematic deregulation of banks and financial institutions now. The regulatory laws that were passed in the 1930s to prevent repeats of the Great Depression have now been mostly dismantled, and... Lo! The results.
When George Bush first took office, one of the things he wanted to do as a present to the refrigeration industry was to get rid of some environmentally beneficial legal restrictions on refrigerants/refrigeration companies. The companies themselves screamed at him not to do that. They needed the level playing field that the regulations provided to the industry.
I just signed a petition calling on key members of Congress to impose a few sensible conditions to this bailout in order to protect the American people -- I hope you will too.
Please have a look and take action.