S&L; 'drama' touts plan to tax rich


Supporters of a congressional bill that would shift the cost of the savings and loan bailout to the rich staged some street theater yesterday with Santa getting mugged.

Santa carried a bag of presents labeled "Quality Education, National Health Insurance and Housing." A masked bandit sporting a sign saying "S&L; banker" then grabbed the goodies. The drama was played out in front of 30 N. Calvert St., a closed branch of Baltimore Federal Financial, a defunct thrift that was taken over by the government.

The union and consumer groups announced plans to hold a meeting on Dec. 15 at 11:30 a.m. at the United Electrical Workers Hall at 3554 S. Hanover St. in Brooklyn about the S&L; bailout. The meeting is open to the public.

The group is inviting members of the Maryland congressional delegation to hear their stand on a bill sponsored by Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy 2nd.

That bill, HR 5499, would impose a special 7.5 percent surtax on people who make over $100,000 or receive $7,500 in unearned income, such as dividends, interest and capital gains. It would also expand laws to cover S&L; fraud and allow the U.S. attorney general to freeze the assets of suspected S&L; embezzlers awaiting trial.

"The S&L; scandal and bailout were the results of the deregulated greed of the roaring '80s," said Sherry Ettleson, staff attorney for Public Citizen's Congress Watch, based in Washington. "Now citizens are roaring with anger over the cost of this catastrophe."

Groups represented at the press conference yesterday included the United Electrical Workers, the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Union and Maryland Citizen Action Coalition.

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