In March of 2008, Senator Sanders began collecting stories of the crisis middle class families faced every day. Yet, official Washington and corporate Wall Street did not focus on the dire economic situation until after it came to roost in Manhattan.
On September 15, 2008, the Wall Street investment banking behemoth Lehman Brothers collapsed. Other institutions threatened to follow suit. The Bush administration began infusing billions of taxpayer dollars into these Wall Street giants. “Some institutions really are too big to fail, and that’s the way it is,” Douglas W. Elmendorf, a former Treasury and Federal Reserve Board economist, said according to The New York Times. Uncle Sam came to the rescue in the form of a $700 billion Wall Street bailout approved by Congress.
Senator Sanders voted against the Wall Street bailout. He pointed out that if a company is too big to fail, it is too big to exist. He noted that the massive bill did not restrict executive compensation at the bailed-out firms; it did not curtail bonuses to the Masters of the Universe who led the financial services industry into this financial crisis; the bailout did not re-regulate the industry which had drastically and methodically been deregulated. You can watch the senator’s speech here.
We cannot ignore the major economic crises we still face: growing unemployment, low wages, and the need to create millions of decent-paying jobs rebuilding our infrastructure. But the Wall Street bailout was not the answer. To stay up to date on the economic and fiscal crises, scroll down for the latest developments.