Kucinich: No 'cash for trash,' give taxpayers a stake in bailout
Nick Juliano
Published: Monday September 22, 2008

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With the White House and Wall Street pressuring Congress to quickly approve a massive taxpayer-funded bailout package this week, several Democrats are coming forward with proposals they say would benefit average Americans alongside financial executives.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) outlined a proposal he said would create "a genuine ownership society," by giving taxpayers a stake in the companies the government will be saving with its proposed $700 billion package.

“Simply purchasing bad debt, 'cash for trash' and not receiving anything of value or giving $700 billion and not having a commensurate equity interest in Wall Street firms is unacceptable," Kucinich said in a news release Monday. "No 'cash for trash.'"

The former Democratic presidential candidate said he would be introducing a bill this week to create a "United States Mutual Trust Fund" to convert assets purchased by the governemnt into shares that would be distributed to every man, woman and child in the country. Every American would receive about $2,300 worth of shares because that is the cost of the bailout package to each individual, Kucinich said.

While it was unclear whether Kucinich's proposal would gain any traction, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate were offering a variety of additional proposals to add to the bailout bill, the New York Times reported:

Democrats said the plan would need to provide more specific relief for troubled homeowners. They said the program, which the administration proposed to be run by Treasury, would have to be more accountable to Congress. And they said that the plan must restrict the compensation of corporate executives from companies that make use of the program to sell the burdensome securities on their balance sheets to the United States.

“We need to offer some assurance to the American taxpayer that Congress is watching,” Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of the banking committee, told reporters on Sunday. “One of the things that got us into this mess was the lack of accountability and the lack of oversight that was occurring, and I don’t think we want to repeat those mistakes with a program of this magnitude.”
This week is expected to be Congress's last in session until after the November election, putting added pressure on lawmakers to act quickly.