George Graham

Paulson Pulls a Bait and Switch. Congress Should Send Him Packing

Hank Paulson is running a con game known as bait-and-switch. You know, where you advertise a used car for $1,000 and when customers come in you tell them that car’s gone, but you have a much nicer one for only $2,000.

paulsonPaulson came to Congress back in September with a request for a few hundred billion dollars to buy those “toxic” securities that had clogged the drains in the financial system, drying up credit. In the face of almost universal taxpayer outrage, our elected representatives agreed to give him $700 billion for the rescue mission. They were persuaded that if Paulson didn’t unplug the financial drains that very day the world’s financial system would come crashing down and we would all lose our jobs. That bailout boondoggle will cost each man, woman and child in America $2,300 at a time when we’re hitting the unemployment line by the hundreds of thousands.

So what is Paulson doing with our $700 billion? He is handing it over to his friends in the banking industry. Some of it he calls loans; the rest of it – under a variety of names – is a present. And who was first in line to benefit from the largesse? Why, his old firm, Goldman-Sachs, of course. What did you expect?

What do taxpayers get in return? A few shares in these banks, which may or may not be worth something some day. Meanwhile, most of those “toxic” securities are still plugging the drains of the financial system. But with the huge amounts of money they’re getting from Paulson, the banks are supposed to bypass the plugged drains and lend money to the rest of us, anyway.

Today, Paulson is trying to fast-talk Congress into approving his new bailout approach. But – understandably – members of Congress are skeptical. Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., said, “The Paulson plan will not …. help struggling homeowners.” Bunning said the bailout would do nothing but “prop up and clean up the balance sheets of Wall Street. It is financial socialism and it’s un-American.”

From where I sit, it’s also dishonest. I figured this bailout thing for a scam from the start. Paulson and his gang are too smart for me to tell you exactly what they’re up to, but I’m not so dumb that I can’t see they’re up to something shady. In earlier blogs, I compared this “emergency” to the one that enabled the trillion-dollar looting of the Savings & Loan industry a couple of decades ago. Now, with a couple of months left before the end of the Bush Administration, I suspect that his gang of looters is making a final desperate grab for as much money as they can get. My gut feeling is that, not content with the billions they got from the Iraq War, from unchecked speculation in the oil market and other raids on the American treasury, they are hoping to ride off with billions more under cover of this murky and bewildering “financial crisis.”

Yes, it sounds bizarre. Who would dare suspect the Chief of State of being involved in such dastardly behavior? I wouldn’t – were it not for the prior history of the Bush clan in that S&L rip-off. Now, I suspect the worst. I can only hope there are enough honest politicians in Washington to thwart this daring daylight robbery.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for