Rodolfo Capón Filas, responsable académico de la Revista Científica
Dos grandes sistemas económicos mundiales, el soviético y el estadounidense, han sido destrozados por la realidad porque no servían. Así de simple.
El muro de Berlín no cayó, como suele escucharse, sino fue destruido por personas ansiosas de libertad y de CocaCola. Esta suma de la CocaCola al ansia de libertad fue aportada por un profesor de economía de la Universidad de Humboldt (Berlín, Alemania) en la conversación mantenida en dicha ciudad al año de la reunificación alemana
El Consenso de Washington, que impuso el ajuste estructural más salvaje que recuerda la historia de Occidente, está siendo barrido por personas que también buscan libertad y CocaCola pero para todos, no solamente para algunos pocos.
La pregunta de fondo es ¿cuánto vale el hombre? ¿El precio de mercado, como cualquier otra mercadería? ¿O, realmente, es valioso en sí mismo y carece de precio? Quienes hemos trabajado y seguimos trabajando por pan, libertad y trabajo para todos, sabemos que el ser humano no tiene precio y por eso nos hemos opuesto a la flexibilización laboral, al derecho a despedir, al ciclo interminable de los posgrados universitarios a precios de mercado porque los grados son insuficientes y nadie tiene el coraje de extenderlos porque prefieren lanzar clientes de posgrado en vez de ayudar a formar seriamente profesionales. El Congreso de los Estados Unidos ha emprendido el buen camino, la de reconocer que “la mano invisible” no existe porque es la mano visible del afán de lucro. Cabe esperar, ahora, que se derriben todos los demás muros que separan los hombres, entre ellos el de la frontera con México y la Franja de Gaza. Además, el tema migratorio, la venta de armas, la desregulación laboral, la subsistencia de formas manifiestas u ocultas de esclavitud. Tal vez, asi, la confianza internacional volverá a los mercados.
Text of a speech given by Speaker Nancy Pelosi before the House vote on the bailout plan on Monday.
Madam speaker, when was the last time anyone ever asked you for $700 billion? It’s a staggering figure. And many questions have arisen from that request. And we have been hearing, I think, a very informed debate on all sides — of — of this issue here today. I’m proud of the debate.
$700 billion. A staggering number. But only a part of the cost of the failed Bush economic policies to our country. Policies that were built on budget recklessness. When President Bush took office, he inherited President Clinton’s surpluses — four years in a row, budget surpluses, on a trajectory of $5.6 trillion in surplus. And with his reckless economic policies, within two years, he had turned that around.
And now eight years later, the foundation of that fiscal irresponsibility, combined with an anything goes economic policy, has taken us to where we are today. They claim to be free market advocates, when it’s really an anything goes mentality. No regulation, no supervision, no discipline. And if you fail, you will have a golden parachute, and the taxpayer will bail you out.
Those days are over. The party is over in that respect. Democrats believe in a free market. We know that it can create jobs, it can create wealth, it can create many good things in our economy. But in this case, in its unbridled form, as encouraged, supported, by the Republicans — some in the Republican Party, not all — it has created not jobs, not capital, it has created chaos.
And it is that chaos that the secretary of the Treasury and the chairman of the Fed came to see us just about a week and a half ago — seems like an eternity, doesn’t it, so much has happened, the news was so bad. They described a very, very dismal situation. A dismal situation describing the state of our economy, the fragility of our financial institutions and the instability of our markets, our equity markets, our credit markets, our bond market.
And here we were listening to people who knew of what they spoke. Secretary of the Treasury brings long credentials and knowledge of the markets. More fearful, though, to me, more scary, was the statement — were the statements of Chairman Bernanke [Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve], because Chairman Bernanke is probably one of the foremost authorities in America on the subject of the Great Depression. I don’t know what was so great about the Depression, but that’s the name they give it. And we heard the secretary and the chairman tell us that this was a once in a hundred year phenomenon, this fiscal crisis was so drastic. Certainly once in 50 years, probably once in a hundred years.
And how did it sneak up on us? So silently, almost on little cat feet. That they would come in on that day — and they didn’t actually ask for the money, that much money that night. It took two days until we saw the legislation that they were proposing to help calm the markets. And it was on that day that we learned of a $700 billion request.
But it wasn’t just the money that was alarming. It was the nature of the legislation. It gave the secretary of the Treasury czar-like powers, unlimited powers, latitude to do all kinds of things and specifically prohibited judicial review or review of any other federal administrative agency to review their actions.
Another aspect of it that was alarming is it gave the secretary the power to use any money that came back from these infusions of cash to be used at the discretion of the secretary. Not to reduce the deficit, not to go into the general funds so that we could afford other priorities. To be used at the discretion of the secretary. It was shocking. Working together in a bipartisan way, we were able to make major improvements on that proposal, even though its fundamental basis was almost arrogant and insulting.
The American people responded almost immediately. Overwhelmingly, they said they know that something needs to be done. Say 78 percent of the American people said Congress must act. Fifty-eight-some percent said, but not to accept the Bush proposal. And so here we are today, a week later and a couple of days later, coming to the floor with a product — not a bill that I would have written, one that has major disappointments with me, beginning with the fact that it does not have bankruptcy in this bill — and we will continue to persist and work to achieve that.
It’s interesting, though, to me that when they describe this, the magnitude of the challenge and the precipice that we were on and how we had to act quickly and we had to act boldly and we had to act now, that it never occurred to them that the consequences of this market were being felt well in advance by the American people. And unemployment is up, and therefore we need unemployment insurance. That jobs are lacking, and therefore we need a stimulus package. So how can on the one hand could this be so urgent at the moment, and yet so unnecessary for us to address the effects of this poor economy in the households of America across our country?
We’ll come back to that in a moment. Working together, we put together some standards — and I am really proud of what Barney Frank did in this regard. The first night, that night, that Thursday night, when we got the very, very dismal news, he immediately said, if we’re going to do this — and Spencer Bachus was a part of this as well — in terms of if we’re going to do this, we must have equity for the American people. We’re putting up $700 billion, we want the American people to get some of the upside. So equity, fairness for the American people.
Secondly, if they were describing the root of the problem as the mortgage-backed securities, Barney insisted that we would have forbearance on foreclosure. If we’re now going to own that paper, that we would then have forbearance to help responsible homeowners stay in their home.
In addition to that, we have to have strong, strong oversight. We didn’t even have to see...