Hutchison Raises Alarm About Future Bailouts

Posted April 24, 2010 at 5:00am

President Barack Obama used his weekly radio address on Saturday to press Congress to pass financial reform legislation. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), meanwhile, warned that the financial reform bill being pushed by Senate Democrats would lead to future bailouts of Wall Street banks.

Republicans have criticized a provision in the bill creating a $50 billion fund collected from big banks to be used to smoothly liquidate a troubled bank as a “bailout.”

Obama, in contrast, pointed to “encouraging news” this week in the auto industry — General Motors emerged from bankruptcy and Chrysler announced an operating profit for the first three months of this year — as a sign that progress is being made in pulling out of the recession. In addition, both companies have paid back the bulk of the taxpayer dollars loaned to them from bailouts, he said.

But the president said the problems that led to the auto industry crisis stemmed from the financial sector. The solution now is to put forward “common-sense rules” that prevent Wall Street from taking the same kinds of “enormous, irresponsible risks that imperiled our financial system and hurt just about every sector of our economy,” he said.

Obama called on Congress to pass reforms that will “hold Wall Street accountable” and prevent the need for more bailouts. Financial reform legislation currently being debated would “bring greater transparency to complex financial dealings” and “empower ordinary consumers and shareholders in our financial system,” said the president.

Hutchison, instead, said, “The idea that a financial institution is ‘too big to fail’ perverts free-market capitalism. It suggests that large firms can privatize their profits, yet socialize their risks. The American people should not be forced to pay the risky gambling debts of the large financial institutions.”

Hutchison said it is “time for the name-calling to stop” in the Senate and to hash out a bipartisan bill that does one thing both parties are seeking: not allowing any company to be too big to fail.

“It’s time for Democrats to put away the political playbook and simply say publicly what they’re suggesting privately: that this bill still needs some work, that both parties should come together to do that work on behalf of the American people,” she said.