The history of the savings and loan crisis is one of corruption and greed on the part of the S&L operators. Instead of lending money to families to buy houses, several S&L operators were embezzling millions while losing billions more in bad investments such as speculative real estate, leveraged buyouts and junk bonds -- investments outside the historical purpose of the S&L industry.
As a member of the House Banking Committee, Rep. Bill Paxon had the opportunity to aid S&L depositors and taxpayers everywhere and to ensure that a future massive bailout of the S&L industry need not be very likely. Paxon could have taken decisive steps to ensure citizens adequate opportunity for home ownership by reinforcing the primary purpose of the S&L industry.
But instead, Paxon voted for the Bush plan that sends the bill -- estimated at over $200 billion -- to the small taxpayer and consumer, giving the S&L industry exactly what it wanted. Little has been done to prevent future scandals in the S&L industry -- or another bailout for which taxpayers will be asked to pay.
Paxon also failed to support an amendment to establish financial consumer associations, consumer watchdog groups that would, at no taxpayer expense, have kept an eye on the S&Ls. Paxon voted against an amendment requiring greater disclosure about the types of loans S&Ls are making. This amendment was designed to prod the industry to help provide mortgage funds for people to buy homes. Paxon voted against an amendment that would increase the amount of money in the pool earmarked for low- and moderate-income borrowers and first-time home buyers.
There will be more discussion about the S&L bailout on the floor of the House of Representatives in June and Paxon will have another opportunity to vote on some of these issues. Citizens can call or write Paxon and let him know that citizens should not have to pay for bailing out crooks and mismanagers. Corporate crime should be paid for by corporate taxes and any bailout must be accompanied by protection against further scandals and by a solid message to the S&Ls to help finance America's housing needs.
Paxon is not helpful
with Rambo rhetoric
Rep. Bill Paxon has called for "swift and decisive military action" to remove Panamanian strong man Manuel Noriega.
In an interesting twist of logic, Paxon justifies his call for military invasion on the claim that his constituents are sick of "drug smuggling from Canada into Buffalo."
Paxon's Rambo rhetoric shows a total misunderstanding of America's role in Central America. It demonstrates a disturbing readiness to shed American blood before non-military options have been exhausted.
In sharp contrast to Paxon's knee-jerk response, President Bush has taken the correct approach in combining diplomatic efforts with the option for increasing military pressure if American lives are threatened or canal shipping lanes disrupted.
While "General" Paxon aims his troops toward Fort Erie to stop Noriega, it is no small relief to Americans and our Canadian friends that cooler heads prevailed.
KENNETH A. SCHOETZ