City Comptroller Bill Thompson, who, in running for mayor, says the city must be "taken back from the billionaires," spoke at a breakfast this morning where he assailed wealthy businessmen who “failed” in the free market and are now lining up for federal bailout money.
“What we are doing right now doesn’t fully make sense,” Thompson said.
“We have to make sure access to credit isn’t just for the big businesses, it’s for the smaller businesses also,” Thompson said, speaking at the Rainbow Push Wall Street Project Economic Summit in midtown, hosted by Jesse Jackson.
“Small businesses, African-American businesses, Latino businesses, women-owned businesses, have gone through a credit freeze for years now. They haven’t had access to capital. We need to make sure that that changes now,” Thompson said.
“[R]ight now the people at the front of the line for the first $350 billion of your tax money have been the people who failed." He went on, "It is absolutely astonishing that they are the first ones in line, the first ones to say, ‘Bail us out, make us whole, pay us bonuses,’ or ‘pay us bonuses out of your tax money,’ And in fact, they’re the ones who made billions of dollars before, exhibiting bad behavior, and they’re somehow being rewarded now.”
Jackson warned federal officials not to overlook minority and women-owned businesses.
“One of the challenges we put before the officials in Washington about the first phase of the bailout was in the name of being in a hurry, [they] didn’t have time to take into account EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission], contract compliance, or any of the civil rights provisions made for inclusion,” Jackson said. “They could not honor them because they were in a hurry. And we cannot allow ‘in a hurry’ to rush past 40 years of civil rights laws of inclusion and diversity and protections for those that have been locked out.”