Use Polluter Pays Principle to Fund Bailout - Discussion

US Treasury $copy; 2008 TH(ePluribus Media) In his Opinion Editorial, Michael Thomas recognizes that the Bailout bill that failed to pass in the House on Monday was at best, a compromise. Instead of a 700 billion dollar bailout, Thomas suggests that there is a viable alternative for funding the bailout through the concept of the "Polluter Pays" principle used in Super Fund Cleanup legislation.

Read his opinion editorial and discuss your thoughts.

No votes yet


As I understand your suggestion, you - in essence - want to beef up the provisions of the existing bill (Sec. 134 - Recoupment). That about right?

Section 111 Executive Compensation has fledgling provisions for clawbacks but suggests that they will be used only in instances of executive malfeasance. It does not suggest that they be a major source of funding for the bailout or that they be based on strict liability without regard to fault.

As a cost recovery mechanism, Section 134 is probably a better location for a clawback mechanism in the existing bill.

A long way to answer yes to your question.

I thought there was probably a place in the existing legislation, so I was glad rba asked the question. Also, nice to see that you are suggesting eliminating the "culpability" and using the Polluters Pay logic.

The amendment to the Senate bill? Rba found the link Senate Tax Bill but I need a lawyer to explain it to me!

One thing for sure will work. Helping people achieve income security, and helping them shore up the quality of their incomes. Why is this?

Well, everyone's income is spent somewhere, and what people spend becomes someone else's income, but not just income of people income of businesses, government at all levels. We're all connected to each other, each dependent on the
other. None of us are self made. None of us are self-sufficient without all the rest of us.

What would really help the economy? Here's a not so arbitrary, but partial list of things which would work like a shot of drano on the plumbing of the financial system.

Increase and extend unemployment compensation in anticipation of bigger problems ahead;
Increase the minimum wage;
Freeze mortgage foreclosures;
Set up health insurance program;
Disaster relief for unmet hurricane and related damage since Katrina;
Infrastructure rebuilding program;
Green energy alternative investment.

There are other "things", "needs", "deficiencies" like this. Everyone has a wish list. We all probably share most/a lot of what is on them.

Where these kinds of needs and others like them are not met, people adopt extraordinary ways of doing things out of the impossibility of not doing anything else. We go into debt, and worse.

Therefore there needs to be review and reduction or assistance with the totality of consumer indebtedness because that indebtedness represents what the free-market has decided free citizens can do without. We need to go back to being a country of free citizens.

This review should include insurance products, and the growth of fee-based services from utilities (communications, television etc). Debt service and insurance (of all kinds) have grown relative to the total wage and salary packet. Consumption of the goods and services which help and improve the security of the way people live should come first.

What does this have to do with dealing with the financial crisis? The break down of credit and finance is clearest in the undermining of the way we live: increasing poverty, growing insecurity. Without reversing that, and it is not only a state of mind, things are going down, there will not be any one fix for the so-called "financial crisis we have to avoid" but a succession of further future financial crises each requiring submission to erosion in the way we organize our lives and how we live.

but from everything I am reading, the meltdown on Wall Street will impact everything, including tying the hands of the next president in terms of the capital he will have to work with to begin any kind of FDR like works projects, or universal health care, etc.

I read it and he took the position that driving up the deficit by reducing taxes was good because it was a way of pushing back on entitlements. It seems to me that the attempt is to manage this crisis to create a fait accompli for the next administration.


Fellow Americans
We all knew the situation was bad, but let me tell you what I've found out since I moved in down here on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. You will not believe what these people were really doing when they told us what was going on... My fellow Americans I'm asking your support to help clean out the mess they left us ...

I know we've all gotten comfortable with the idea that the solution to problems starts by finding a pile of money and throwing it in the general direction. We all know that's the old way of the special interests, it didn't help Iraq and it didn't help New Orleans... it just stuck in the pockets and on the fingers of lobbyists and contractors

We need to get ourselves organized to work our way out of this, identify funds, on the one end taking back what Bush gave the top 5%, on the other end looking at what can be self-financing or supporting, in the middle looking for every which way to make the best of what we've got.

I know we can do that because we voted for change, and this is how we're going to make it happen.

Etc. I think it is a political problem the way you pose it, one of mobilizing support.

It will be turned into a technical bureaucratic roadblock to excite impotence and negative thinking, and used the way BushI's real estate recession and budget deficit were used against Slick Willy. Hoover tried to do the same to FDR.

I stopped drinking tea a while ago so I don't know what's in the tea leaves.