HIGHTOWER: More S&L Bailout

A church bulletin proclaimed: The 8th graders will be presenting Shakespeare's "Hamlet" in the church basement. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.Likewise, all citizens are invited to another tragedy: "The Return of the S&L Bailout."A federal judge has recently ruled that we taxpayers must pony up as much as $50 billion more of our money to the S&L owners, including such billionaires as speculator Robert Bass of Texas, the Pritzkers of Chicago, and hostile takeover artist Ron Perelman of New York. These people need taxpayer's dollars like Oscar Mayer needs more baloney, but here they come, grabbing for your wallet.Under the original bailout, deep pockets like the Basses, Pritzkers, and Perelmans bought defunct S&Ls at firesale prices, paying a dime or less on the dollar then were allowed to shove any bad loans their S&Ls had onto the backs of us taxpayers. That cost us $165 billion. But they also got another sweetheart accounting break, essentially being allowed to count the S&L's liabilities as assets. When it became clear that this ludicrous loophole would end up costing us taxpayers billions more, the Bush Administration got Congress to close it off in 1989.Hence, the present court case. The rich S&L scavengers went whining to court that this was a "breach of contract" and that they should be paid for any profits they "might have" ripped off between '89 and today if only their loophole had stayed in place.Amazingly, this judge sided with the scavengers against us taxpayers in a case involving a California S&L. The other scavengers are in line to get theirs, too, including David Paul, who filed his lawsuit from a South Carolina prison camp, where he's doing 11 years for racketeering. His S&L was the one that had gold-plated toilet pipes and a $29-million art collection -- all financed by us taxpayers.This is Jim Hightower saying ... And now we're to pay him more? Get a rope.

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