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Obama on Fed Plan: “We Are All in This Together”

Sen. Barack Obama spoke out in more detail on the Fed-Treasury bailout plan on Friday, stressing that while the U.S. faces one of “the most serious financial crises in this nation’s history,” he backs a progressive approach, grounded in the reality that “we are all in this together.”

According to prepared remarks, Obama first stressed that a taxpayer-funded solution makes it imperative that the government help middle-class and poor citizens — not just troubled corporations:

We already know that the credit crisis that has emerged from our largest financial institutions is becoming a credit crunch for small business owners, homeowners and students seeking loans in big cities and small towns.

Now that American taxpayers are being called on to share in this new burden, we must take equally swift and serious action to help lift the burdens they face every day…. I ask Sen. McCain, President Bush, Republicans and Democrats to join me in supporting an emergency economic plan for working families –- a plan that would help folks cope with rising gas and food prices, spark job creation through repair of our schools and roads, help states and cities avoid painful budget cuts and tax increases, help homeowners stay in their homes and provide retooling assistance for America’s auto industry.

John McCain and I can continue to argue about our different economic agendas for next year, but we should come together now to work on what this country urgently needs this year.

Obama is essentially reiterating the need for the stimulus plan he already proposed — at $50 billion — which presents another contrast with McCain, who still opposes a stimulus.

Then Obama turned to a new regulatory structure, which he has already discussed several times this week:

[T]his plan must be temporary and coupled with tough new oversight and regulations of our financial institutions, and there must be a clear process to wind down this plan and restore private sector assets into private-sector hands after restoring stability to the system. Taxpayers must share in any upside benefit that such stability brings.

Obama concluded with some straight talk of his own — an indictment of of a Washington-Wall Street alliance that should resonate with many workers and voters disgusted with Congress:

One last point. We did not arrive at this crisis by some accident of history. What led us to this point was years and years of a philosophy in Washington and on Wall Street that viewed even common-sense regulation and oversight as unwise and unnecessary; that shredded consumer protections and loosened the rules of the road. CEOs and executives got reckless. Lobbyists got what they wanted. Politicians in both parties looked the other way until it was too late. And it is the American people who have paid the price. The events of this week have rendered a final verdict on that failed philosophy, and it will end if I am President of the United States.

With all the attack ads and horse-race coverage, it’s easy to start analyzing the financial crisis as another political development that can “help” or “hurt” the candidates. Turn to Obama’s actual words today, though, and you can see his emphasis on how he would try to help the actual people harmed by free market fundamentalism.

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