It was an extremely sad day for those who believe in free enterprise and the fundamentals of capitalism. Adam Smith, the author of "Wealth of Nations," who is considered the Father of Capitalism, must have been turning in his grave.
Here was the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, Secretary Henry Paulson, aka King Henry, Big Willie, Iceberg Slim, coming to Congress on a Saturday morning requesting $770 billion to be handed over to his office for disposal at his discretion without court or congressional oversight, i.e. transparency.
He had the audacity to threaten us by saying give it to me now or the world economy will go into a terrible depression immediately. Congressman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) would say, "The last time I heard something like that, I was standing in a used car lot." Paulson even had the guts to put it on a trifling two and one half-page proposal.
The legislative leaders of the free world were being shaken down by a very rich hustler.
First of all, Secretary Paulson has a very big conflict of interest in all this. He is the former CEO of Wall St. investment firm Goldman Sachs, which is a suspect in all this mess. In 2005, Paulson's personal value of Goldman Sachs stock was over $800 million and today it is valued at around $500 million.
Yes, he is down to his last half a billion dollars and he wants to turn that around even if the assistance comes from American taxpayers. The fired CEO of AIG Insurance, a major suspect in this, had a value of $1.2 billion in his company stock and today that has shrunk to less than $50 million.
They are personally in trouble and are trying to manipulate your elected officials to further the U.S. debt and have you, the typical American taxpayer, make them whole.
Yes, I used the term "suspects." The reason for all of this mess is a wholesale movement of deception, greed, corruption and simple felonies.
The FBI currently has at least 26 major investigations going on in Wall St. The major subject is mortgage fraud. What we definitely need to do is build a couple of new prisons and send these financial criminals away. Let's not swat hands this time. These federal criminals need to do some serious time and set the example that ripping off people, including Black folks, will get you locked up.
Yes, I am saying a lot of this is racial. The major component of this economic meltdown is the mortgage fraud that was taking place. The prime targets of the fraud were Black and Hispanic families. Sub-prime mortgages have exploited minority homeowners and they were the first to suffer.
The whole scheme backfired on the conspirators because they never figured the public would finally realize who was to blame. In sum, Black net worth in America has probably fallen 30 percent due to the criminal activity of Wall St., Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and others. Thirty years of our wealth building has collapsed and that will hurt us for a significant time. We have got to make them pay!
Small businesses do not have this luxury of paying off officials through Political Action Committees, lobbyists, etc. We sink or swim based on our own accountability, business acumen and fate. We are the true Capitalists in this time and it is us who provide 70 percent of all new jobs in this nation. Big corporations are the manipulators as opposed to students of Capitalism. They must pay for their transgressions. I know that good government must step in but it should not be in the way of super regulation. Heavy regulation is not the answer as it can only make things worse. We should continue to embrace true Capitalism and, by doing that, we should prosecute those who abuse the public trust and embrace greed versus business acumen.
What Secretary Paulson and his minions didn't count on was the fact that Congress has to answer to the American people. Our populace is against any kind of major bailout by the ratio of 50 to 1. Congresspersons and Senators have an election next month and they must report on this issue. If they discount the people and go for the "big boys" their futures will be in jeopardy. Democracy is going to make them fall onto the people's side. Yes, Corporate Thieves you are in serious trouble. I guess it is time for you to fall on your swords.
Harry Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Website: www.nationalbcc.org.