Bailout Needs Bigger Taxpayer Upside

Public should expect some reward for taking on Wall Street's bad debt
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2008 1:00 PM CDT
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson appears for an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week, in Washington, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2008.    (AP Photo/ABC News, Fred Watkins)
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(Newser) – The impending bailout of beleaguered Wall Street behemoths should give the taxpaying public some protection and accountability, writes EJ Dionne Jr. in the Washington Post. The deal should allow the government to claim a stake in financial firms that make money from the bailout, giving taxpayers the chance to reap some rewards in exchange for taking such a large risk.

The current proposal by a Democratic senator to add this detail to the bailout plan would also shield the government from overpaying for some of the difficult-to-price debt it’s about to buy. “Taxpayers get at least some of the money back when the company's stock goes up,” Dionne writes. “The bottom line should be: no potential upside for the taxpayers, no bailout.”