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Posted 10/21/08 (Tue)
N.D. Sen. Kent Conrad has been traveling the state for a series of roundtable discussions, focused on the recent economic collapse on Wall Street and the resulting $700 billion rescue package. The Senator was in Velva Wednesday, Oct. 15, to meet with community leaders and answer questions.
“This has had little impact in North Dakota as yet, our banks are sound and in good shape,” Conrad said. “But we are not an island onto ourselves.”
Conrad said when he asked Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson how he could explain the bailout to his North Dakota constituents, Paulson told Conrad it wasn’t about rescuing big financial institutions.
“He said it was about rescuing the country, that there would be a massive collapse if we failed to act,” Conrad said. “The secretary said the country would enter a massive depression, and it wasn’t a question, it was a statement of fact.”
Conrad, who is chairman of the Budget Committee, said the initial proposal for the rescue package was unacceptable, citing a lack of accountability and oversight, and the fact that it had no taxpayer protection.
According to Conrad, the original lump-sum proposal put all the power in the hands of Treasury Secretary, contained no equity stake for taxpayers, and no limits on executive compensation, or “golden parachutes.”