Members of the United States House of Representatives:
It is no great revelation that we are presently facing challenging financial times, and may be on the precipice of even more daunting ones. While much of the attention has been on the collapse of major financial institutions and on Wall Street, the even greater crisis is being played out on Main Street. Anger, fueled by fear, is increasingly palpable. While you debate the bailout of financial institutions, we ask you to consider above all the welfare of the most vulnerable in our country, the lower and middle income Americans whose futures are at stake.
The United Church of Christ has long advocated for the most marginalized in our society. As the Senate has overwhelmingly supported the Emergency Economic Recovery Act of 2008, we ask members of the House of Representatives to address forcefully some of the root causes of the financial crisis and the consequences borne by most people. Specifically, we ask the following issues be addressed justly:
Stronger regulation. This crisis did not happen overnight. Economists like Dean Baker have long spoken to the housing bubble and the irresponsible deregulation of lending institutions. The propensity to greedy behavior must be checked before it leads to the ruin of financial institutions.
A vigorous, transparent accountability plan for the bailout. Concerned Americans must be assured that the massive outlay of tax dollars will be accounted for and repaid in a structured plan.
Bankruptcy protection. Responsible Americans whose home ownership is in jeopardy must receive adequate protection through restructured mortgages, thereby helping to stabilize communities and the economy as a whole.
A plan for economic recovery. The plan must not only address the ills of the past, but must provide bold initiatives leading to stabilization of the economy.
No golden parachutes for executives. It is unjust to unduly reward those whose actions have led us to this place. Taxpayers must receive assurance that their dollars will not be used to compensate such irresponsible and risky behavior.
Elected officials who represent us have a rare opportunity to lead in these critical times. We implore you to seize this opportunity to act on behalf of and in the best interests of the American people. Franklin Roosevelt addressed the American people in another moment of crisis for our nation and said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." Please do not allow fear to lead your actions in this time, but a determined vision of the common good.
The Rev. Linda Jaramillo
Justice and Witness Ministries
United Church of Christ
The United Church of Christ is an American Protestant denomination consisting of 1.3 million members and 5,900 churches.