VERMONT - August 15 - Congressman Bernard Sanders (I-VT), the Ranking Member of
the International Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee, today called for an
immediate Congressional investigation of the recent $30 billion International
Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout of Brazil. Sanders, who is strongly opposed to the
bailout and considers it corporate welfare, wants Congress to find out why U.S.
taxpayers are being asked to provide billions of dollars to Brazil and how much
of this money will be funneled to U.S. banks such as Citigroup, FleetBoston and
J.P. Morgan Chase. These banks have about $25.6 billion in outstanding loans to
Brazilian borrowers. U.S. taxpayers currently fund the IMF through a $37 billion
line of credit.
Sanders said, "At a time when
we have a $6 trillion national debt, a growing federal deficit, and an increasing
number of unmet social needs for our veterans, seniors, and children, it is unacceptable
that billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are being sent to the IMF to bailout Brazil.
This money is not going to significantly help the poor people of that country.
The real winners in this situation are the large, profitable U.S. banks such as
Citigroup that have made billions of dollars in risky investments in Brazil and
now want to make sure their investments are repaid. This bailout represents an
egregious form of corporate welfare that must be put to an end. Interestingly,
these banks have made substantial campaign contributions to both political parties."
Sanders noted that the neo-liberal
policies of the IMF developed in the 1980's pushing countries towards unfettered
free trade, privatization, and slashing social safety nets has been a disaster
for Latin America and has contributed to increased global poverty throughout the
world. At the same time that Latin America countries such as Brazil and Argentina
followed these neo-liberal dictates imposed by the IMF, from 1980-2000, per capita
income in Latin America grew at only one-tenth the rate of the previous two decades.
Sanders continued, "The policies
of the IMF over the past 20 years advocating unfettered free trade, privatizing
industry, deregulation and slashing government investments in health, education,
and pensions has been a complete failure for low income and middle class families
in the developing world and in the United States. Clearly, these policies have
only helped corporations in their constant search for the cheapest labor and weakest
environmental regulations. Congress must work on a new global policy that protects
workers, increases living standards and improves the environment."
Sanders is the author of the Global
Sustainable Development Resolution that among other things calls for the United
States to condition funding for the IMF, the World Bank and other International
Financial Institutions on support for labor rights, environmental protection,
decent living standards, and support for small and medium-sized local enterprises.