Bailout foes plan day of protests: Grassroots groups and online activists rally against the proposed taxpayer rescue of Wall Street
By Ben Rooney, CNNMoney.com staff writer
Last Updated: September 25, 2008: 2:45 PM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — The public backlash against the Bush administration’s proposal to use tax dollars to bailout Wall Street could spill into the streets Thursday.
“People all over the country are up in arms about this,” said David Elliot, a spokesman for grassroots advocacy group UsAction. “Our members are livid, and they’re hitting the streets.”
At present, there are 220 events planed in more than 30 states to protest the bailout, according to organizers at TrueMajority.com.
Several organizations have contributed to the planning of the protests, including Democracy for America, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (Acorn) and labor unions.
A protest organized by the New York Central Labor Council took place this afternoon on Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange.
Another protest, which was spontaneously organized online, is also targeting New York’s financial district, where protestors plan to build a “pile of citizen junk” near the famous Wall Street bull statue later Wednesday.
“Since Bush wants to buy up Wall Street’s worthless investments with Main Street’s hard-earned tax dollars, some folks are planning to bring their OWN junk to Wall Street to see if they can get a bailout, too,” citizen organizer Arun Gupta said in a statement.
Gupta is the author of an e-mail message that initially inspired plans for the protest in New York.
Protests are also planned in Washington. Events are scheduled to coincide with a 4 p.m. ET meeting at the White House between Bush administration officials, Congressional leaders and the presidential candidates to discuss the final details of the bailout plan.
“The people we entrusted to run our economy have failed us,” said Alan Charney, program director of UsAction. “We can no longer trust them to get us out of this financial mess.”
Charney said the government should “put Main Street first” by ensuring that taxpayers have an ownership stake in the companies that benefit from the bailout plan.
It should also include provisions for increased oversight of the financial markets, limits on executive compensation and protection for homeowners facing foreclosure, he said.
Many of these issues have already been incorporated into alternative plans being circulated on Capitol Hill, something Charney said happened “because the American people are rising up and saying no, no, no.”