Putting an end to the bailout culture in Washington

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By Congressman Bob Goodlatte

Late last year the Congress passed, without my support, the Financial Stabilization Package, which was supposed to stabilize the growing financial crisis currently facing our country.  In fact, this legislation represented one of the largest corporate bailouts in American history by taking 700 billion dollars of taxpayers’ hard-earned money and handing it over to the very companies that made the bad decisions which led us into this mess in the first place.  We literally rewarded those financial institutions who engaged in risky behavior to the tune of up to $8,000 for every family of four in the U.S.

As economic uncertainty continues, many across our nation are looking to the government for leadership during this difficult time.  In these challenging economic times it is even more important for government to control spending and enact fiscally responsible solutions that are actually likely to turn our economy around.  Unfortunately, instead of supplying real solutions, the Majority in Congress has responded to the call with unprecedented, wasteful spending of taxpayers’ dollars. 

Recently I joined in introducing the Consumer Protection and Regulatory Enhancement Act, to protect American consumers and taxpayers by modernizing the regulatory structure of the financial services industry and putting an end to the “bailout culture” in Washington, which seemed to start with the passage of the Financial Stabilization Package.

The Consumer Protection and Regulatory Enhancement Act is designed to ensure that the government stops picking winners and losers, that taxpayers are never again asked to pick up the tab for bad bets on Wall Street, and that market discipline is restored.  This legislation pushes insolvent non-bank financial institutions into the bankruptcy system, rather than the current policy of granting them a government bailout.  It creates a Market Stability and Capital Adequacy Board that is charged with monitoring the interactions of various sectors of the financial system, and identifying risks that could endanger the stability and soundness of the system.  It strengthens consumer protections by creating a single point of contact with the government, providing more investigative and enforcement tools, and increasing civil and criminal penalties.  It also ends the taxpayer subsidies of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  This legislation presents a clear alternative to the “too big to fail” government policy that has taken hold in Washington. 

Nothing is more important to me than ensuring the future growth of our economy and we can all agree that Congress has a responsibility to act to ensure that credit, the lifeline of our economy, remains available to individuals, families, students, and small businesses all across this country.  The Consumer Protection and Regulatory Enhancement Act will help stabilize our economy without penalizing taxpayers for the sins of those on Wall Street and I strongly encourage the Majority in Congress to bring it to the floor for a vote.