U.S. bailout critic likens its architects to communists

HOUSTON, Sept 23 Tue Sep 23, 2008 3:25pm EDT

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HOUSTON, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Comrades in Washington, take note.

The Bush administration's $700 billion Wall Street bailout plan and other government interventions to help the deeply troubled financial industry have come under plenty of fire.

One angry critic, a venture capitalist, took out a costly full-page advertisement in The New York Times on Tuesday to vent -- accusing President George W. Bush, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke of being 'new communists.'

The ad -- in the form of a cartoon -- shows the trio planting a flag in the style of the Iwo Jima Memorial near Washington, a tribute to U.S. soldiers during World War Two.

But the flag wielded by Bush, Bernanke and Paulson bears the hammer and sickle communist symbol, emblazoned with the words "big insurance," "Detroit auto" and "Wall St banks."

Private enterprise and capitalism are marked on tombstones behind the three men, and a plaque overhead proclaims "The New Communist."

"They are raising the new flag," said Bill Perkins, the Houston-based venture capitalist who paid for the ad. "We've become a socialist-communist country in the form of trickle-down communism," he told Reuters by telephone.

Bernanke and Paulson testified in Congress on Tuesday, arguing the plan for the U.S. Treasury to buy tainted mortgage-related securities should be urgently approved to avert what Bernanke called very serious consequences for financial markets and the economy.

"They've painted very scary scenarios but I'm a trader. I'm in scary scenarios every day," Perkins said.

"Let me know if I'm going into a business where I'm going to be competing against the government. I need to get out of that business," he said.

Perkins, who said he paid $130,000 for the ad, joins vocal opponents to the bailout plan who include conservative Republicans such as Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Such critics argue the administration is betraying its free market principles by stepping in to help the financial industry with such a sweeping measure.

Tuesday's ad used a drawing by Dawolu Jabari Anderson, a member of the Houston-based art collective Otabenga Jones & Associates. (Reporting by Chris Baltimore; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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