The letter -
Dear Congressman Mitchell,
I am writing on the subject of the proposed $700 billion bailout of Wall Street that the Congress will be considering this week.
I urge you to not support any package that doesn't include stringent oversight provisions, both for the firms receiving assistance and for the Secretary of the Treasury, who has demanded almost-dictatorial powers regarding the disbursement of the funds.
In addition, any bailout package should include provisions that bar 'golden parachutes' for the executives of any firm that receives assistance in any amount.
Lastly, any package that involves taxpayer monies must include fiscally responsible safeguards to ensure that any assets acquired under the bailout are purchased at fair value, not at a value chosen by Wall Street or its cheerleaders in the Bush Administration. In addition to that, the package should be structured so that when the affected firms return to solvency (as most will), the taxpayers are the first investors in those firms to receive a return on their investment.
Thank you for your consideration of this.
Some of the stuff that I didn't put into the letter (you know, the 'amazingly self-restrained' part :) ) -
Congressman Mitchell, please don't allow your colleagues or yourself to be stampeded into approving the blank check that the Bush Administration has demanded. Since January 21, 2001, these people have been lying to the world, to the American people, and most importantly for the purposes of this letter, to Congress.
They've lied us into an unjust war (weapons of mass destruction and more here),through an inept natural disaster relief effort ("you're doing a heckuva job, Brownie"), and into undermining the Constitution (Patriot Act and FISA renewal).
In short, the people behind the crisis, the bailout package, and the insistent hysteria surrounding both are men and women without honor, integrity or even the barest shred of civic conscience. There might be individuals within the group that are worthy of trust and respect
In some form, the proposed bailout may ultimately be necessary to minimize the damage that Wall Street's greed causes on Main Street. That doesn't mean that America's taxpayers or their elected representatives in Congress give up the keys to the treasury and walk away, regardless of the dire predictions of Bushies like Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke.
There's a saying that Republican President Ronald Reagan used in reference to the old Soviet Union that fits pretty well here -
"Trust but verify."