Sunday, December 14, 2008

Where is the People's Bailout?

The words below are a letter to the Obama Transition Team from Obama IS America! blogger, *Gardens For America*.

*CLICK HERE* to link to the Obama Transition Team website.

*CLICK HERE* to link to where you can send your thoughts, ideas, frustrations, suggestions, etc. to the Obama Team.

Dear Obama Transition Team,


America has seen a $2 trillion bailout package for irresponsible banks that lent themselves into bankruptcy. We hear talk of a $40 billion bailout for car companies that again failed to innovate and transition into the burgeoning clean energy car future. But where is the bail out for all the millions of small businesses, the millions of small non-profits, the millions of every day Americans who try so hard to make ends meet?


Money invested in banks is not even finding its way into the hands of the American public in the form of loans, or even in the form of refinanced homes. Either way, American's don't need more loans; our credit is bad as it is. We need help. We need a large influx of no strings attached funds to flow into our pockets - just as they have flowed into the hands of already extremely rich bankers.


Indeed the heart of the situation: the crisis in budgets of the average American, the crisis in employment has not been addressed. People continue to lose jobs, college graduates continue to have no job options, organizations continue to spiral deeper and deeper into debt, and critical services continue to be curtailed. This crisis does not arise from the falling of the banks. It arises from the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few rich individuals, and the inability of the rest of society to even access these funds.


I currently work at a non-profit urban forestry organization that plants trees in Oakland. Our focus is the revitalization of urban communities with minimal tree canopy cover by involving communities in reforesting their neighborhoods. We integrate our urban forestry program with top-notch research in the urban forestry field to further understand the benefits of trees in cities. Finally, we integrate youth from our community in this research process to expose them to the dynamic scientific process.


Over the past 3 years, our organization has operated under significant deficit, and currently is endanger of closing its doors. We would also appreciate a bailout by the federal government, as our services provide irreplaceable benefits to our communities. Funding available to non-profit organizations continues to plummet as individuals are less likely to donate, and major funding institutions close their doors as the economy continues to plummet.


If the administration really cares about communities, about individuals, about small businesses, then it needs to invest in communities. It needs to invest in small businesses; it needs to keep money in the pot for these individuals, businesses and community groups. Spending $2 trillion on banks, $30 billion on car companies, and $1 million on community groups is unacceptable.  After trillions of dollars have been spent on big businesses, what will be left for the American public? After all our hard earned tax dollars have been poured into corporations, what will be left for us? As funding for unemployment, funding for medical care, funding for low-income housing shrivels up, the American government will have spent all its funds on businesses.


Where is American people's bailout? We are hurting. We cannot continue to withstand the pressures of minimal funding, minimal income, and an increasing cost of services.


So I would like to know three things:

1)      How will the bailout of the banks be reclaimed? Will this money be returned to the American public in the form of increased revenue from rising stock options? Will this money be returned to the American public in the form of returns on a loan? Or was this bailout simply a large cash give-away for a series of very rich individuals able to whine their way into receiving money from the government?

2)      How does the Obama Administration propose to bailout small businesses, small non-profits, community groups, and the American public struggling with debt or decreasing income in the face of rising costs?

3)      How can we as the American public contribute to building a better more financially stable future? What time can we volunteer, what ideas can we volunteer, what services can we provide?


I look forward to the future of this country, but also have considerable trepidations about the present. The Administration's open willing attitude to listen to concerns of the American public has already heralded a new day in American politics.


Thank you for your time and energy.


Take care,

Gardens For America

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