Rep. Jay Inslee: “A vote of conscience”

Rep. Jay Inslee was the only Democratic member of WA’s congressional delegation to vote against today’s Wall Street bailout bill.  Here is his statement:

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) voted against the $700 billion bailout package for troubled American financial markets in what he called “a vote of conscience.”

“The initial plan by Secretary Paulson was completely unacceptable, but the revised package was not much better,” said Inslee.  “For all the talk of protecting the taxpayer, there were only limited promises that the taxpayers’ $700 billion investment would be paid back and there were no provisions to help struggling homeowners.”

“If we authorize $700 billion in a bailout for Wall Street, we must ensure – and not just hope – that all the money gets paid back to the American taxpayer.  The plan we were presented with did not do that.  Also, I saw no real provisions in the revised plan to help stem the real cause of the crisis, which is the collapse in our housing markets.  We needed a pro-growth bill to stimulate the economy, and that was not what we got.”

“But now is the time for Congress to come together again and vote on a real, comprehensive plan that will solve the crisis while still protecting the taxpayers and restarting our economic growth.  I am prepared to stay here and in session as long as it takes, and I know many of my colleagues in Congress feel the same.”

“The American people deserve better.  I could not, with good conscience, vote for the bill presented to me.”

Comments

  1. 1

    SeattleJew spews:

    I have great respect for Inslee.

    What I do not know is how much money is being lost from the fed coffers as a result of this inaction. If we lose a trillion dollars in capital what gain is there in seeing the next trillion buy out done better?

  2. 4

    John spews:

    Rep. Jay Inslee was the only Democratic member of WA’s congressional delegation to vote against today’s Wall Street bailout bill. Here is his statement:

    Inslee, like Burner, is well aware that public sentiment has been running strongly against the package. Me thinks this was an itsy bitsy factor in both their decisions with voters rendering their judgment five weeks from now.

  3. 5

    proud leftist spews:

    I respect Jay a great deal. I think he’s wrong on this one. Still, his heart is in the right place.

  4. 7

    proud leftist spews:

    4
    Jay Inslee has no serious opponent this election. Your suggestion that his vote was taken with his campaign in mind reflects the usual fantasy thinking of wingnuts.

  5. 8

    SeattleJew spews:

    I would really like to see if we could get him to write something on his reasoning.

    Sooner the better.

  6. 9

    ArtFart spews:

    Well, good on Inslee….now, what the hell turned Jim McDermott around and made him vote for this mess, after his impassioned speech last week opposing it?

  7. 10

    spews:

    Well voted, Congressman Inslee — and well said, too, about coming together and being willing to stay to make it happen.

  8. 11

    spews:

    Re:Artfart’s concern about McDermott

    Check out my post on Washblog about this. Norm Dicks explained that we agreed ahead of time to put up 140. McDermott was either armtwisted into being one of the 140 or he’s got some Wall Street cash coming his way.

    That’s politics for ya!

  9. 12

    RonK, Seattle spews:

    So wrong on point after point after point.

    I hope Jay is demagoguing this one, because if he did this on principle I’ve severely overestimated him.

  10. 13

    Seneca spews:

    Unfortunately on matters that relate to the functioning of the capital markets, conscience and good intentions are insufficient. Knowledge is a prerequisite. In this matter, I find Inslee’s position a sad example of failure to recognize the limits of his knowledge. He should have clearly deferred to experts. His likely level of concerns should remain with robins, salmon, and clean air. The US House, regrettably, has know working knowledge of the world we live in and its interconnections. Where was Inslee as WaMu was building its house of cards? Receiving campaign contributions.

  11. 14

    spews:

    In contrast to most of the folks who’ve commented on this, I’m completely disgusted with Inslee for this vote: it represents a significant failure of leadership on Inslee’s part. The American economy, and indeed, American taxpayers, need this bill to head off a recession, if not a depression. The bill, as finally negotiated, was perhaps not perfect, but it was pretty good. Inslee’s failure on this issue has convinced me to vote for Ishmael come November.

    http://blog.wouldbetheologian......nslee.html

  12. 15

    Seneca spews:

    As for Reichert, the other poseur in the Seattle area, when is he up for re-election? Inslee, I’m afraid, has seen better days and is uncertainly overrated as a rep of our state (and area) in Washington DC. Cannot we do better?

  13. 16

    correctnotright spews:

    @13 Where was Inslee? I sure did not hear Inslee supporting deregulation – that was and is the republican mantra.
    Deregulation of the banking industry- specifically the 1999 bill written by Phil Gramm (formerly the chief economic advisor to McCain) and voted on in a party line vote in the Seante – is what got us into this mess.

  14. 17

    spews:

    @13:

    “The US House, regrettably, has know working knowledge of the world we live in and its interconnections.”

    The problem is, neither does anyone else. Certainly markets don’t.

    This video by John Bird and John Fortune of the UK continues to be the best explanation to date of both the crisis, and the irrational reactions by all players to it. Well worth the nine minutes of your time.

  15. 18

    Seneca spews:

    Hal: Even in the sense that you imply, that’s not really true. As an Wall-Streeter, I can tell you that many people and even organizations (eg Goldman) made money from their knowledge. What about Buffett — he had been predicting a disaster since at least 2003.

    What I think you mean is: no one really knows the value of certain securities (‘toxic assets’). That’s a more complicated issue as the value of a security exists in the dimension of time and, over time, new information becomes available that alters these values. That’s not even getting into the question of ‘accounting’ statement values.

    Treasury securities are issued at par; they trade up and down. That’s really not the issue.

    However, what I meant is: markets are interconnected. You need to understand the basics of their interconnectedness and the implication for all parties.

    Inslee is a bit of the proverbial mental midget that simply relies on ‘conscience’…need I add that that explosive word has been used to justify the actions of tyrants and Nazis?

    Frankly, less reliance on ‘conscience’ and more on understanding would serve all politicians in this country well. I suppose it’s foolish to think that they would have read Kant and figured out that there are limits to ‘conscience’ and ‘knowledge’.

  16. 19

    rla spews:

    @13

    Unfortunately, many of the experts here also have vested interests in getting saved by a large and immediate bailout with no strings attached.

    The financial markets will not grind to a halt immediately if an infusion doesn’t come within the next week. And yes, if nothing is ever done to inject liquidity and ejection of the highest risk liability then things will get very very bad. But remember, Cramer was screaming “ARMAGEDDON” on CNBC back when BS fell. We haven’t gotten there yet. We’re closer but we still have a way to go..

    The bill wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t great either. When I skimmed it, I did not get the impression that there were a lot of safeguards on the mechanisms for return of the capital. Yes there is a potential for profit, but there is also the potential for getting nothing in return. There is also little, as Congressmen Inslee stated, that will help prevent this situation again in the future. And personally, I want very strong assurance that: we pay only what is necessary, and we make a profit above the NPV at the rate we’ll need to borrow at to finance this. Panic won’t serve us here. It certainly won’t do much for the value of the dollar.

    I will be voting for Congressmen Inslee again, and gladly. To say that he did this as a political stunt is to not really know who he is and to discount the pretty wide margin he’s already got.

  17. 20

    spews:

    “As an Wall-Streeter, I can tell you that many people and even organizations (eg Goldman) made money from their knowledge.”

    Correlation does not equal causality.

    I’m not disputing that some have made money on Wall Street. I’m saying that I agree with Taleb: “Are you good or are you lucky? How do you know?”

    “What about Buffett — he had been predicting a disaster since at least 2003.”

    Yup. As had many others (DailyReckoning, as an example). And many had said the disaster would come well before this, or for different reasons (notably peak oil — see Kunstler).

    You’ll note that the timing hasn’t worked out according to those prior predictions. Given the limit to only two broad outcomes, they had a 50-50 chance each day of being right or wrong. For many hundreds of days, they’d been wrong.

    Today they were right.

    {shrug} And? Does that somehow wipe the slate clean of the hundreds of times they were wrong?

    Were they bad or were they unlucky? How do you know?

  18. 21

    spews:

    “…need I add that that explosive word has been used to justify the actions of tyrants and Nazis?”

    No. On the other hand, it’s also been used by the Founding Fathers.

    Perhaps you should get out of the Blame America First game (let alone brushing up on your Godwin).

  19. 22

    The Real Puddybud spews:

    ArtFart spews: Well, good on Inslee….now, what the hell turned Jim McDermott around and made him vote for this mess, after his impassioned speech last week opposing it?

    Jackbooted support?

  20. 23

    JC spews:

    Inslee lost my support for good on this vote… What a f’ing idiot. This was a time sensitive issue to avert crisis. If you don’t get the exact bill you want, you have to consider the consequences for rejecting it being much larger financially than had you originally supported it, or even supported the same bill a few days later when further financial panic puts us in a nosedive we can’t correct out of.

  21. 24

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    9. ArtFart spews:
    Well, good on Inslee….now, what the hell turned Jim McDermott around and made him vote for this mess, after his impassioned speech last week opposing it?

      
    The fear of being kicked out of the democrat party for not blindly obeying the group think.
      
    Like joe liberman.
      
    The big tent of the democrats only have room for one opinion.

  22. 26

    JDH spews:

    Thanks a lot Jay. Perhaps you thought you were doing the right thing, but in your effort to protect the greater good, you invoked the necesity for the non players to endure paying the price for something they did not create. This bill was not meant to be a “cure-all”. It was a major elment to avert disaster. It would have needed bipartisan follow up and leadership to ensure we don’t go down this path again. I think #14 Ken Smith, above, and #23 JC, pretty much summarizes my sentiment. In my book, you banked on your strong background to appease those opposed to this bill to favor votes in November, and you took the coward’s way out. You have lost my respect as a potential leader and you have lost my vote. So much for retirement.

  23. 27

    Klebanoff spews:

    This bill was not a “wall street bailout” – it was lifeline to save the entire economy. Without this rescue package expect a long, painful recession. Unemployement will jump. Explain voting your conscience to all the people who are going to lose their jobs.

  24. 28

    Josh spews:

    Thanks for your principles, but no thanks to your lack of financial understanding and appreciation for timing in financial markets.

    I wonder who your opposition for re-election is.

  25. 29

    Paul spews:

    Sorry, but anyone in favor of this bailout is either a complete idiot or stands to gain from the bailout. This bailout solves NOTHING. All it would do is prop up a failed system which will continue to drain resources from our economy. As a former employee of WAMU I knew what was going to happen ELEVEN YEARS AGO! People laughed at me at that time because I started buying gold and refused to have anything but a checking account. The guy who I trained for my position when I left several years ago called to thank me for my warning–I saved him from losing a lot of hard earned money. While I don’t think Jay is completely informed, I believe that he saw that this bailout would rewarded those who essentially pushed a high stakes ponzi scheme on us. Thank you Jay for letting the market punish these companies! Unfortunately, the honest employees are the ones who will be hurt the most. Now, it is time to go after the crooks who bailed out with their golden parachutes and cooked the books for the big bonuses! But, PLEASE, let the housing market reset so that we can afford to buy houses again. Increasing access to loans only drives up the prices!

  26. 30

    Pradeep Gupta spews:

    Good Job congressman Inslee!

    I didn’t get time to call you on this one, but you did the right thing anyways.

    That’s why I like you. You can count on my vote.

  27. 31

    Seneca spews:

    Hal O’Brien:

    “Correlation does not equal causality”. Neither correlation nor causality was implied by what I wrote. Hence, your comment is a non-sequitur. Your original post suggested there was no logical basis for knowledge in this market (hence, statistically, randomly distributed outcomes). That’s not the case as everyone on the street knows. Why did Goldman and JPMorgan survive? Lucky vs good is irrelevant in this context. Bush invading Iraq: ‘unlucky or bad?’ Irrelevant: the outcome of the invasion is the outcome of the invasion. Is Buffett lucky or good? Irrelevant.

    “50-50″ chance. This is not a problem that can be solved assuming there is dichotomous or discrete data and thus the use of non-parametric testing.

    To answer the ontological questions you raise, you need to know something about science and mathemetics and the basic philosophical positions of Hume and Kant.

    Otherwise, you can say there is no knowledge of anything whatsoever which is the basis of philosophical skepticism.

    The sad point is, despite some rather intelligent people in this area and frequent bragging about how educated people are, the case of Inslee is a puncture in the balloon of exceptionalism which the Pacific NW floats incessantly.

  28. 32

    Seneca spews:

    To Hal: please ignore my previous post to you. I had not yet read all your posts to me. I had misunderstood the situation and recognize now that you are not an individual to hold a serious discussion with, as you rapidly turn nasty. Have a nice day.

  29. 33

    Mark the racist redneck republican goat fucker spews:

    The Republicans are a loathsome group. And they stopped that bailout bill for the wrong reasons. But I am grateful to them for doing so.

    I agree that the economy is in trouble. But this huge giveaway is not the answer. Congress should treat wall street the same way the government treats an applicant for food stamp: Make them disclose every penny in assets they have and then give them only the bare minimum to survive

  30. 34

    spews:

    We saw the outcome of this kind of ‘principled stand’ in the 2000 election.

    With his ‘no’ vote, Inslee has hurt people hoping for help, even imperfect help.

    Do you have a retirement account? It’s now smaller than the day before Inslee’s vote. Own a home? Need a business loan?

    I’ve been a fan of Inslee until now, but this refusal to compromise badly mistakes our needs. When is the last time you had a perfect bill to endorse? Why not just vote against them all?

    ‘Vote your conscience’ in somebody else’s district, Inslee, and better still, in someone else’s Congress. I’m ashamed you’re in mine.

  31. 35

    spews:

    “Neither correlation nor causality was implied by what I wrote. Hence, your comment is a non-sequitur. Your original post suggested there was no logical basis for knowledge in this market (hence, statistically, randomly distributed outcomes). That’s not the case as everyone on the street knows.”

    Umm… Here’s what you wrote:

    “As an Wall-Streeter, I can tell you that many people and even organizations (eg Goldman) made money from their knowledge.”

    So, I suppose it doesn’t imply a certain string of events. It baldly asserts them. You appear to be saying that Goldman had “knowledge”; it took actions based on that knowledge; those actions resulted in it being rewarded.

    The trouble is, that really does confuse the end result with how they got there. It’s basically saying, Because Goldman is rich, they must therefore also be smart.

    As to things “everyone knows” (tout le monde, as Tom Wolfe would say)… If “everyone knew” that 2+2=5, would it be true?

    “To Hal: please ignore my previous post to you. I had not yet read all your posts to me. I had misunderstood the situation and recognize now that you are not an individual to hold a serious discussion with, as you rapidly turn nasty.”

    Speaking of non sequiturs… Care to be not-so-cryptic, and explain what it is I’m writing that’s “nasty”? Or do you believe that politely disagreeing with you is inherently nasty?

  32. 36

    Kirkland spews:

    Disgusted with Inslee’s vote. His clear conscience will not provide me a regular paycheck or preserve my retirement savings. This is serious, and a get it done, no-nonsence approach is needed. Everyone wants to punich Wall Street, what Inslee and many others are missing is that his vote will help to punish Main Street far more than Wall Street. I do not relish the thought of economic collapse.

  33. 37

    michael spews:

    @36

    This is serious, and a get it done, no-nonsence approach is needed.

    I couldn’t agree more, but the package on the table was a joke. Hopefully they’ll come up with something worth passing in a day or two.

  34. 38

    Joseph spews:

    I called up Inslee’s Washington office today and registered my profound disappointment. I told them I expect him to be working day and night with his peers to form a package he can vote yes on. I told them unless he supports the next round of this bill, he cannot count on my support in the next election. I urge all of you to do the same. His office phone number is (202) 225-6311.

  35. 39

    Seneca spews:

    @36’s comments: ‘offer on table is clearly a joke…’

    Can one seriously discuss issues with a so-called informed citizenry when serious proposals (formulated by the leading minds in the US economy and backed the powers in both parties, which is more than you can say about the Iraq war…not to mention the repulsion that Europe and Asia feel) — are termed ‘jokes’.

    Little wonder that Plato felt that democracy could only lead to the tyranny of the ‘rabble’.

    Let’s wait to see what passes, and then @36 can dissect the latest ‘joke’.

  36. 40

    Judith Allen spews:

    THANK YOU JAY FOR VOTING AGAINST THE BAIL-OUT, JUST LIKE YOU TALKED AGAINST THE IRAQ WAR.
    JUDITH ALLEN

  37. 41

    Joseph spews:

    @36

    A joke? You do realize the package was backed by the Bush administration, the Treasury, Democratic senate leadership, Republican senate leadership, Democratic house leadership, and Republican house leadership? It was hardly a joke. The 700 billion was not going to be given away, taxpayer equity was demanded in return. I would love to hear your ideas on what a realistic non-joke package that protects the economy would be. We’re past the point of letting investment banks eat it, no matter how much we might want them to. We’re at the point where if we don’t do something, hundreds of thousands of people’s retirement savings and jobs will be wiped out. I’d love to hear the kind of legislation you’re hoping for.