A real 'ownership society', Americans need real guarantees, ‘stock for taxes’ strategy may be the answer


Our elected officials panicked and hastily passed an ill-conceived bill that could have painful consequenses.

The devastation of our financial system paints a tragic picture of unregulated greed and its effects.

I am sickened so many of our elected officials once again awarded the multi-millionaires whose reckless, self-enriching behavior caused this crisis in the first place.

Where’s the accountability? Where is the “bailout” for the millions of Americans who are hurting?

For decades, we’ve been told that we can’t afford to help children in poverty or make decent care available to the 50 million Americans who don’t have health insurance. Money couldn’t be found to fix our schools and our Social Security system. It’s too expensive to provide adequate assistance to veterans and victims of natural disasters.

And yet we’re able to find $700 billion to bail out Wall Street!

As Investment Chair of the UFCW Northern California Pension Trust Fund, I understand the importance of stable and growing markets. I also understand that important decisions on complicated issues must be made with care, based on thoughtful research and analysis.

I didn’t see much care and thoughtfulness in the days preceding the House and Senate votes on the bailout. After the House’s initial rejection of the bill, the legislation was reworked and passed within four days.

What we’ve gotten is a hodgepodge. It is hardly a blueprint for sound economic policy.

On Sept. 30, I wrote a letter on behalf of our members to the House and Senate, urging them to consider letting the next President — someone who has a fresh mandate from the American people — guide our nation out of the mess that was left by the current administration.

I told them that any bailout of Wall Street should be part of a comprehensive plan to assist our struggling middle and lower classes.

One notion I submitted for consideration is a United States Real Estate Corporation (USREC), in which taxpayers would receive stock in bailed-out corporations. The amount of stock would be proportionate to their families’ tax burdens in connection with the bailout.

This plan would create an open market in which those who would like to invest further in America’s future can do so easily. It would give Americans a greater voice in exchange for their contributions and sacrifices.

And it would help assure taxpayers that they could eventually see a return on their investment.

For too long, the concept of an “ownership society” has been abused to promote the interests of the wealthy over the needs of everyone else. It’s time to give all Americans a greater chance to own a piece of their country’s future.

I pledge to use the energies of this office to ensure our membership and all taxpayers are shown the consideration they deserve as this process moves forward.

Solidarity works!
UFCW 8-Golden State