Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. Candidates are listed by party and in alphabetical order by last name. Black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria for inclusion.
Should the US federal government have bailed out US private financial corporations like AIG, Bank of America, Citigroup, etc.?
Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, stated the following in his article "The Economy and Taxes," available at www.garyjohnson2012.com (accessed Jan. 18, 2012):
"We Should: Reject auto and banking bailouts, state bailouts, corporate welfare, cap-and-trade, card check, and the mountain of regulation that protects special interests rather than benefiting consumers or the economy." Jan. 18, 2012 Gary Johnson
Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, stated the following on Apr. 22, 2010 during a speech at Cooper Union, New York, NY, "Remarks by the President on Wall Street Reform," available at www.whitehouse.gov:
"Now, first, the bill [Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act] being considered in the Senate would create what we did not have before, and that is a way to protect the financial system and the broader economy and American taxpayers in the event that a large financial firm begins to fail. If there’s a Lehmans or an AIG, how can we respond in a way that doesn’t force taxpayers to pick up the tab or, alternatively, could bring down the whole system...
[W]hen this crisis began, crucial decisions about what would happen to some of the world’s biggest companies -- companies employing tens of thousands of people and holding hundreds of billions of dollars in assets -- had to take place in hurried discussions in the middle of the night. And that’s why, to save the entire economy from an even worse catastrophe, we had to deploy taxpayer dollars. Now, much of that money has now been paid back and my administration has proposed a fee to be paid by large financial firms to recover all the money, every dime, because the American people should never have been put in that position in the first place.
But this is why we need a system to shut these firms down with the least amount of collateral damage to innocent people and innocent businesses. And from the start, I’ve insisted that the financial industry, not taxpayers, shoulder the costs in the event that a large financial company should falter. The goal is to make certain that taxpayers are never again on the hook because a firm is deemed 'too big to fail.'
[T]he system as it stands is what led to a series of massive, costly taxpayer bailouts. And it’s only with reform that we can avoid a similar outcome in the future. In other words, a vote for reform is a vote to put a stop to taxpayer-funded bailouts. That’s the truth. End of story."
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, stated the following in a Mar. 2009 interview with James Pethokoukis of Reuters, available in Pethokoukis's Sep. 21, 2009 reuters.com article, "Did Romney Flip-Flop on TARP?":
"The TARP program, while not transparent and not having been used as wisely it should have been, was nevertheless necessary to keep banks from collapsing in a cascade of failures. You cannot have a free economy and free market if there is not a financial system… The TARP program was designed to keep the financial system going, to keep money circulating in the economy, without which the entire economy stops and you would really have an economic collapse." Mar. 2009 Mitt Romney
[Editor's Note: A Nov. 28, 2011 video released by the Democratic National Committee accused Romney of changing his views on TARP, playing a clip of Romney saying "It was the right thing to do," followed by "TARP ought to be ended." The full Dec. 2009 quote from his interview with CNN's John King shows that Romney wanted to end TARP because it already served its purpose. "And by the way, TARP has served its purpose. TARP ought to be ended. We've got hundreds of billions of dollars there that is being used as a slush fund by Secretary [Timothy] Geithner and the Obama administration. Stop the TARP recklessness at this point and get ourselves back to creating jobs by encouraging businesses to grow, expand their capital expenditures and hire."]
Jill Stein, MD, former Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, stated the following during an Oct. 9, 2011 speech at an Occupy Boston rally, available at YouTube.com:
"We've all heard about the bailouts, the big bailouts of Wall Street, and you may have heard it was about 800 billion dollars that we paid out as part of this TARP [troubled assets relief] program. Well it's a well kept secret - it wasn't just 800 billion dollars, it turns out there were many many trillions more, in fact 16 trillion dollars, if you can wrap your head around it, that was basically given away as low interest and zero interest loans that was given to the biggest banks and financial institutions...
That's who the Fed, behind closed doors, gave 16 trillion dollars to, when we could have been using that money here instead of loaning it to the big banks to get them out of the hole that they created. We could put that money into our small businesses and to our municipalities and our state governments and start creating jobs right here." Oct. 9, 2011 Jill Stein
[Editor's Note: In addition to the above Con statement from Oct. 9, 2011, Jill Stein also made the following statement during her Jan. 2012 speech "A People's State of the Union: A Green New Deal For America," available at www.jillstein.org:
“We will end taxpayer-funded bailouts for banks, insurers, and other financial companies. We’ll use the FDIC resolution process for failed banks to reopen them as public banks where possible after failed loans and underlying assets are auctioned off.”]
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives (R-GA), said the following at a May 2010 forum in Davenport, IA:
“I will say this about the vote on TARP… the last 24 hours before the vote, I said I would probably vote yes…I was very biased against it and had opposed it all the previous week. I had a number of very, very successful businessmen who called me and said that you need to understand, this system is on the edge of total meltdown. These were people who weren’t politicians. They weren’t liberals. Some of them were very right wing. But they said this is a true crisis. This is like having a heart attack, this is a true crisis.” May 2010 Newt Gingrich
[Editor's Note: Prior to Newt Gingrich's 2010 Pro position above, he held a Con position as indicated in his Sep. 22, 2008 interview with NPR's All Things Considered below.]
“Well, I think you have a Goldman Sachs chief of staff to the president and the Goldman Sachs secretary of the Treasury. And they convinced the president that the American people ought to send $700 billion to Wall Street, which I think is a very, very bad idea, and I would argue is a very un-Republican idea. I don't understand what they think they're doing...
I think what they're doing is just wrong. And I think that it's likely to fail, and it's likely to make the situation worse over time. And I think that [US Treasury] Secretary [Henry] Paulson has shown almost no understanding of how a democracy operates. His initial draft would have given him $700 billion of your tax money with no oversight, no judicial review, no accountability. I mean, we're not a dictatorship…
I don't think the taxpayers should be socked for $700 billion for welfare for Wall Street. I think it's fundamentally wrong, and I think that it is very likely to create a bureaucratic control of our financial system in a way that will cripple us for 20 years.” Sep. 22, 2008 Newt Gingrich
Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah, stated the following in an article titled "Financial Regulatory Reform: Ending too Big to Fail," posted on his official campaign website, www.jon2012.com (accessed Jan. 17, 2012):
"To protect taxpayers from future bailouts and stabilize America's economic foundation, Jon Huntsman will end too-big-to-fail. Today we can already begin to see the outlines of the next financial crisis and bailouts. More than three years after the crisis and the accompanying bailouts, the six largest U.S. financial institutions are significantly bigger than they were before the crisis, having been encouraged by regulators to snap up Bear Stearns and other competitors at bargain prices. These banks now have assets worth over 66 percent of gross domestic product – at least $9.4 trillion – up from 20 percent of GDP in the 1990s. There is no evidence that institutions of this size add sufficient value to offset the systemic risks they pose." Jan. 17, 2012 Jon Huntsman
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), stated the following in a Sep. 23, 2008 article "Commentary: Bailouts Will Lead to Rough Economic Ride," available at www.articles.cnn.com:
"I am afraid that policymakers today have not learned the lesson that prices must adjust to economic reality. The bailout of Fannie and Freddie, the purchase of AIG, and the latest multi-hundred billion dollar Treasury scheme all have one thing in common: They seek to prevent the liquidation of bad debt and worthless assets at market prices, and instead try to prop up those markets and keep those assets trading at prices far in excess of what any buyer would be willing to pay.
Additionally, the government's actions encourage moral hazard of the worst sort. Now that the precedent has been set, the likelihood of financial institutions to engage in riskier investment schemes is increased, because they now know that an investment position so overextended as to threaten the stability of the financial system will result in a government bailout and purchase of worthless, illiquid assets.
Using trillions of dollars of taxpayer money to purchase illusory short-term security, the government is actually ensuring even greater instability in the financial system in the long term.
The solution to the problem is to end government meddling in the market. Government intervention leads to distortions in the market, and government reacts to each distortion by enacting new laws and regulations, which create their own distortions, and so on ad infinitum.
It is time this process is put to an end." Sep. 23, 2008 Ron Paul
Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, wrote the following in "Governor Rick Perry's 2020 Vision: Uproot & Overhaul Washington," posted on his campaign website RickPerry.org on Nov. 15, 2011:
"The Troubled Asset Relief Program, also known as TARP, was wrong when it was signed into law in 2008, it is wrong today, and it will be wrong tomorrow. Instead of bailing out irresponsibly managed banks with taxpayer money, policy makers should focus on removing the government-created incentives that created the financial crisis in the first place…
Our leadership in Washington cannot allow this continued irresponsible and unproductive spending. As President, Governor Perry will continue to oppose and never sign a taxpayer funded bail-out. If a bank, company, or nation is 'too big to fail', it is simply too big." Nov. 15, 2011 Rick Perry
Buddy Roemer, former Governor of Louisiana, stated the following in a Nov. 7, 2011 article by Benzinga Staff Writer John Thorpe titled "Buddy Roemer Could Win...If Only Republicans Would Listen," available at buddyroemer.com:
"I just felt that the way to be president and the way to serve America's interest was to vote against the bank bailout that President Bush asked John [McCain] to vote for and Barack Obama did vote for. I asked John to consider not voting for it, to actually put the interest of the American people first. That's the change that makes me different...
For example, my bank is a small bank–-it has about $700 million dollars in assets. We have about $500 million dollars in loans. We service small businesses--we're not a retail bank. We didn't receive any bailout money, although we were eligible for it. We didn't foreclose on a single homeowner; we didn't shut down a single business." Nov. 7, 2011 Buddy Roemer
Rick Santorum, former US Senator (R-PA), stated the following during the Oct. 11, 2011 Republican presidential debate at Dartmouth College in Hannover, NH, available at www.washingtonpost.com:
"We're in the 'live free or die' state, and I opposed the single-biggest government intrusion into the private sector, the Wall Street bailout, the TARP program. I opposed it because it violated the principles of our Constitution, the spirit of our Constitution, because the experience I had, that if you open up the door of government involvement in the private sector, some president will, and in fact did, drive a truck through it and explode the size of the federal government and constrict our freedom." Oct. 11, 2011 Rick Santorum