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Mike hopes to see the world turned upside down through local communities banding together for social change, especially churches which have recognized the radical calling to be good news to the poor, to set free the prisoners and oppressed, and to become the social embodiment of the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven. He lives with the blessed memory of his wife, in Durham, NC, and has three adult children living in three different states. He also shares his life with the Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, the faculty and students of Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, NC, and the faithful fans of Duke and Baylor Basketball in his neighborhood.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bailout 6: Don't Stop Paying Attention

In the past week, a couple of reminders have come around that caught my attention. We have to recall that the deep causes of this financial downturn lie in unregulated and deregulated management of capital and in the "bubbles" created by wishful thinking about dot-com businesses and inflated housing prices. Risk trading, debt swapping, and all that mess played with other people's money, and the banks and large money companies thought they could keep bleeding the low- and middle-income people for greater and greater profits. One of the better places to read and hear about the economy is a blog called Planet Money. I also get plenty of good insight from Truthout, as the comments below will illustrate.

The first reminder came from Dean Baker, and I heard it elsewhere, asking whether any executives have had their pay cut. Are CEOs and executives whose companies have been bailed out by our taxes had to feel any of the pain? We are not getting any such reports.

Second came the reminder in an article posted on Truthout that banks getting an influx of taxpayer money seem to be planning to keep on paying out dividends as if nothing has happened. Dividends come from profits, and profits come from a good economy. If the dividends come from taxpayer bailouts, then what's up with that? I don't pay taxes so stockholders can make dividend income. If I have to pay to keep banks from failing, that is one thing. But dividend income is another.

Is the Treasury Department looking out for the public interest here? We have to keep watching and calling for accountability.

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