Congressman Lipinski Delivers Statement on Wall Street Bailout on One-Year Anniversary of First Bailout Vote9/29/09
Click here to view Congressman Lipinski delivering statement on the bailout, one year later.
Below is the text of Congressman Lipinski's statement:
Mr. LIPINSKI. Madam Speaker, a year ago we heard that the world financial system was on the verge of collapse. Congress was given a $700 billion Wall Street bailout plan that we were told was needed to avert catastrophe. After studying the legislation, I decided it contained too many loopholes and provided no guarantee that middle class Americans would be helped by this huge expenditure of their hard-earned money.
One year ago today, I stood here and voted against the bailout bill, and it failed. Unfortunately, later that week the Senate passed it, and it then passed the House on the second try. The bill had gotten no better; so I reluctantly voted against that bill again.
I believed it was the right thing to do then, and I am even more convinced of that today. Much of what I feared would happen if we passed the bailout has come to pass.
We still don't know what the banks have done with the billions they were given. Executives at firms the taxpayers propped up have taken home huge paychecks. Foreign banks wound up receiving taxpayer money. And, most importantly, unemployment has skyrocketed and is expected to go higher.
Last week I joined 28 of my colleagues in calling on the Treasury Department to end the bailout program and stop more taxpayer money from being misspent. A year after Wall Street's recklessness brought the economy to its knees, little has been done to reform the financial system and prevent another such crisis. That must change. We cannot permit the financial industry to continue to live by the slogan ''heads, we win; tails, the taxpayers lose.''
For the time being, the markets appear to have stabilized, but that is little comfort to the millions of Americans who are out of work or have seen their wages and hours cut, or are wondering if their next day on the job will be their last. They are among the innocent victims of this recession.
There is still great anger about what happened with the bailout and the reckless and misguided actions that caused the problems in the financial industry that led to the pain felt by middle class Americans. I continue to hear about it from my constituents, no matter where they live in my district, what their profession is, or their age.
One constituent I spoke with last month is more well known than most of my constituents, but he echoed a similar sentiment when it came to the bailout and what we need in America today. Dennis DeYoung, lead singer and songwriter for Styx, pointed me to a song he wrote and sang 30 years ago. That song, ''Rockin' the Paradise,'' appeared on the album ''Paradise Theater,'' which went to number one on the charts. It was recorded in a studio in Oak Lawn in my district. Thirty years later, as our country continues to reel from the consequences of the greed of some, the lyrics are as relevant as ever:
''Don't need no fast buck, lame duck profits for fun, quick trick plans, take the money and run. We need long term, slow burn, getting it done, and some straight-talking, hardworking son of a gun.''
The song goes on:
''I ain't lookin' to fight, but I know with determination, we can challenge the schemers who cheat all the rules.
''Come on take pride, be wise, spottin' the fools. No big shots, crackpots bending the rules. A fair shot here for me and for you.''
That is what Americans want, to know that when they work hard, they'll not get cheated by the ''big shots'' and the ''crackpots.''
It's long past time that we ''challenge the schemers who cheat all the rules.'' That is what my constituents want. That is what all hardworking Americans want us to do in Washington. They want to hear ''straight talk.'' They want to see us ''getting it done'' so that they have a ''fair shot'' at the American Dream.