Bail outs are only for the big boys

Accountability is for Every Street but Wall Street

By Donna Smith
WASHINGTON, DC – Imagine my surprise when I turned on the television to see Elizabeth Warren of Harvard on Good Morning America making the pitch that we should have some Congressional accountability for the billions and billions we gave to the big boys to bail them out of their financial mess.

I was on a panel with attorney and Professor Warren that testified to Congress more than 16 months ago about the damage being done to middle class, insured Americans who go belly up due to medical debt.

I adore Warren. She is a straight shooter who is trying hard to make some of these bailed-out big shots tell the truth. She is on the mark about it being pretty unconscionable that they don’t have to tell us – the people who spent our tax dollars bailing them out. No one can force them to say how they spent the money we gave them. No one. They are above the law and will prosper mightily when this is all over.

The scenario for me and my husband has been quite different. We struggled – we begged, we borrowed in some pretty unwise ways and we finally went bankrupt – due to medical crisis. We had health insurance. We had disability insurance. We had a healthcare savings account. What we did not have was a bail out. We went broke. Lost it all. Home. Stuff. Relationships with people who cannot abide the bankrupt. And any future hopes of being homeowners too – or even doing significant credit buying of any kind. We’re labeled losers. We are those evil people, you know, those dirty ones who didn’t know better or plan better for the dark days.

You know what we’ll do with the Wall Street boys? We’ll give them more money when they need it. You know what we’ve done with Donna Smith and husband? We’ve made it impossible to apply for housing without reporting the bankruptcy – and nobody cares why we went broke. We’ve made it impossible for Donna to apply for many jobs without a dirty credit report showing the bankruptcy and marking her as irresponsible. We’ve certainly relegated her to a debit-card not credit-card world where she cannot rent a car or get other credit without the nasty bankruptcy rearing its head again.

This lack of Congressional oversight of the bailed-out boys is worse than unconscionable. It should be criminal to make my life hell and theirs heaven. It should be illegal for me to be labeled a failure — and for life — while they get more of my tax dollars without account. It should be so wrong.

Do you care? Should Congress hold them accountable at least as much as it does me for having gotten cancer? That was my crime. And now I beg for equality in housing and in financial services while the big boys flaunt their obscenity in my face on Good Morning America? Get real, America.

Let’s help Elizabeth Warren hold them at least a little responsible. Come on. First it’s me and then it could be you, I promise. Help us speak up. Tell Congress…

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