Thus Spake Henry On bankers: “If I were to quote my colleagues today the references that Thomas Jefferson made to bankers, they would think they came from anti-capitalists, or communists, or socialist lips. But the reason was simple. They knew that whoever controlled the allocation of credit of a society controlled that society. October 7, 1988 On the savings and loan crisis: “At risk right now is the insurance . fund not only for the S&Ls but for the banks, too, because FDIC is headed that way. What do we do? Sit here and wait until this crisis engulfs us to the point where everything is lost? That is the real danger to this country, not a foreign invasion.” June 30, 1988 On high interest rates: “As I am talking here just this day we will be. dishing out way over $500 million on interest. By definition interest is the most inflationary economic factor known to man because it is something for nothing.” June 30, 1988 ALAN POGUE Henry Gonzalez in the Twentieth District endorsed him, even when he was without an opponent. Gonzalez has labored mightily to obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants and loans for housing, hospitals, schools, federal buildings, and military bases. In 1968, he secured a world’s fair for his hometown, bringing tourists and money to the city. Gonzalez returns home nearly every weekend. Among Hispanics he was a hero in the 1950s and 1960s. However, he never saw himself as a representative of only Mexican Americans and, in the early 1970s, was involved in a series of messy, highly publicized imbroglios with radical Chicano groups in South Texas whose rallying cry was “kill the gringo.” He also failed to break with Lyndon Johnson over the Vietnam war, although he has emerged as perhaps the foremost critic in the House of U.S. foreign military intervention in Nicaragua and Lebanon \(making one critical speech just three days before the Marine In a place of self-important officials concerned with their image and egogratification, Gonzalez stands out for his warmth and humility. Walking down a San Antonio street or entering an office in Washington, his progress is always slow as he meets with, or introduces himself to, everyone in sight. “I remember one time we were at a statewide Democratic Party convention in San Antonio, and Henry got into a conversation with a janitor there behind the podium,” said William N. Patman, a former congressman and son of Wright Patman who has known Gonzalez since they served together in the Texas Senate. “The guy had some problem and I remember Henry spent a lot of time with him. He was always kind to folks.” At times, his devotion to principle has the Treasury and further bolster the fund. Gonzalez cited the $4 billion bailout of the Farm Credit System as a model for the FSLIC rescue. \(Under that plan, signed into law last January, the agricultural financing network was given authority to borrow directly from the Treasury and to set up a separate “Farmer Mac” subsidiary to package and sell its farm loans to the He said he was certain that at least 80 percent of the Treasury’s loan to FSLIC eventually would be paid back noting that government rescues succeeded in the past with Chrysler Corp., Lockheed, New York City, and the Penn Central Railroad. Meanwhile, he reaffirmed his steadfast support for the independence of the savings and loan industry, which currently is carrying $1.5 trillion in fixed-rate mortgages. He is also calling for the creation of a $6 billion trust fund to offer loans at six percent interest rates to homeowners. He will be open on the issue of GlassSteagall reform, but does not want to take any action until the committee has held more extensive and in-depth hearings that take into consideration the needs of small banks and consumers. “We haven’t heard from the folks out there,” he said, promising to bring the hearings to the world beyond the Washington beltway. Gonzalez also wants to see Congress reassert control over both the Federal Reserve and the other banking regulatory agencies that he says are “beholden” to the financial institutions over which they are supposed to serve as watchdogs. But before he proceeds with the FSLIC bailout or anything else, he says, Gonzalez wants the full committee to hold hearings on the state of the economy. Says Maury Maverick, Jr., a San Antonio lawyer, “In Texas you’ve either got to be tough or you get bought off. There’s no in-between. Henry has survived in Texas politics because he has been tough all his life.” I=1 made his legislative life awkward and difficult. In 1983, in an effort to expedite action on Gonzalez’s stalled housing bill, party leaders tied the bill to a separate measure dealing with the International Monetary Fund. But Gonzalez voted against the package and his own bill complaining about “the perverse coupling of legislation.” Gonzalez can take credit, though, for vigorously opposing the Garn-St. Germain Act that deregulated the thrift industry and that, ultimately, played a major role in disrupting a once-stable industry. Gonzalez contends that deregulation of the thrifts has created “the laws of the jungle.” He is calling for a $50 billion bailout, based on direct borrowing from the U.S. Treasury, to pay for the rescue. With the backing of the Treasury’s line of credit, he says, FSLIC then could “package its assets and go to the market as other agencies do” to repay 12 MAY 5, 1989
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