Tahlequah Daily Press

Features

September 25, 2008

ABCs of the bailout: What it may mean for taxpayers

The final in a two-part series concerning the Wall Street meltdown outlines the proposed $700B bailout and reveals local reaction.

TAHLEQUAH DAILY PRESS — Treasury officials and congressmen are scrambling to find a viable solution to what been dubbed the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression, and are tossing around figures unimaginable to most “regular folks.”

The latest amount being discussed in Washington is $700 billion, which would come at the taxpayers’ expense.

If the three-page act is passed as is, what would this mean to the taxpayer? Dr. John Yeutter, associate professor of accounting and Certified Financial Planner, explained the situation in layman’s terms.

“Let’s put this in perspective,” said Yeutter. “The U.S. Federal Government collected $2,568 billion in fiscal year 2007, while spending $2,730 billion, generating a total deficit of $162 billion. This proposal asks for more than 25 percent of last year’s collections. This is more than the government spent on defense ($549 billion), Social Security ($581 billion), or Medicare and Medicaid ($561 billion) last year. So we’re talking about ‘real money’ here.”

Yeutter indicated this money will come by increasing the federal debt, and will have to be paid back somehow.

“So our children and our grandchildren will have to pay for the mistakes of a few executives on Wall Street, through future taxes,” he said. “So we shouldn’t expect anything but tax increases until this debt is paid.”

Indeed, a review of the text of the bill, available at the New York Times Web site, provides a stark – some might say frightening – plan that would leave U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in charge of running the whole show.

Particularly sobering is Section 8 of the three-page document, which states: “Decisions by the Secretary [of the Treasury] pursuant to the authority of this act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed in any court of law or any administrative agency.”

If passed, not only would the legislation increase the national debt to $11.3 trillion, it would leave one man in charge with absolutely no oversight.

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