Congressman Steve King is among the House Republicans who are raising concerns about the scope of a proposed Wall Street bailout. King says rather than have the government acquire Wall Street assets, the government should step in as an insurer, plus guarantee taxpayers can make a profit on the investment, if possible.
"If there’s money to be made off of this, it should be the taxpayers that make the money," King says. According to King, he and many other Republicans in the House intend to "stand on free market principles" and oppose some components of the bailout being advanced by Republican President Bush, his treasury secretary and Democratic congressional leaders.
"I do not want to see the nationalization of any of the industries in America," King says. "We’ve taken over the ownership of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That’s a nationalization or a socialization of that sector of the economy and we’ve got to be very careful here that we do not produce some kind of cure here that’s worse than the disease."
King is upset with Bush’s economic team. "(U.S. Treasury) Secretary Paulson told us, I think it was day before yesterday or perhaps it was yesterday that they had been watching this unfold for the last 13 months, but they weren’t able to do anything because if they had spoken up it would have caused the problem or would have initiated the problem. I’m thinking they still had an obligation to fix this problem rather than watch it unfold," King says. "…They surely don’t want a meltdown on their watch, but I don ‘t think there is a deadline on this.
The markets are pretty stable right now as we speak and I think this is an opportunity for us to get free market solutions in place." This latest economic crisis was sparked by a dramatic increase in home values, followed by a precipitous fall — quite similar to the farm crisis of the 1980s which was caused by plummeting farmland values.
"I lived with a knot in my gut for three-and-a-half years during the ’80s, not knowing if I was going to be able to hold my own operation together," King says. "My bank was closed April 26th, Friday afternoon, at three o’clock. That was 1985 and so I have lived through this and I’m certainly watching carefully, seeking to do all we can to avoid this coming to Main Street."
King was not among the small group of House Republicans who met early this morning with Republican presidential candidate John McCain.