Sanders: Don’t make middle class bankroll bailout

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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., says he’ll oppose a Bush administration proposal to bail out troubled financial institutions if the middle class is asked to pay for it.

Sanders on Sunday issued a statement saying middle class Americans shouldn’t have to pay for a crisis created by "the Bush administration’s deregulatory fever and Wall Street’s insatiable greed."

The administration proposal would have the Treasury Department buy $700 billion in nonperforming mortgage assets from banks. Sanders says that should be paid for through an income tax surcharge on individuals with more than $500,000 in annual income and couples earning more than $1 million.

He also wants to break up some of the biggest financial institutions. "If a company is too big to fail, it is too big to exist," Sanders said.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., later issued a less specific statement, saying he wants to "see progress toward a balanced bill that also helps overburdened middle class families."

He added, "It should not include get-out-of-jail-free cards for those whose greed caused this mess, and it should not lessen accountability for those responsible for this crisis in our financial markets.

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