I'm Barack Obama, and I approve this bailout!
We are told that a bailout, or "rescue plan" as it is euphemistically called according to a Bush dictate, is absolutely necessary to save the economy from a meltdown or a freeze-up, depending on what form of Hell you favor. We are told that credit lines will stop flowing, banks will fail, businesses will close, people will not be able to buy houses or cars, and the economy will have a seizure. To avert this, we are told that money must go to the very agencies that (along with consumers, their dupes) precipitated the crisis. The Federal government alone has the power to fix the economy, because capital has stopped. The world as we know it is coming to an end.*
Bush announced this news last Wednesday, and leading members of the House and Senate of both political parties have, as well as their presidential candidates, fallen in line. Does this remind us of anything?
When Bush came on the set, his head framed like a cross between the iconic mad magazine figure and Big Brother, we knew it was a lie; or should have. But the leadership of the Democratic Party, and what's worse, its new agent for "change," also took the bait?
Who believes that the only way to get money into the market is through those very firms holding bad debt underwritten by the loss of American homes? Who believes that the only way to get credit flowing again is to buy these firms' bad debt? Who believes that giving into Wall Street/Paulson/Bush blackmail is the only way forward? He who does believes in negotiating with terrorists!
Let me remind the reader: the federal government prints money. The federal government distributes money. The federal government can put liquidity into the market directly-and doesn't need an end-around, trick, Hail Mary pass to the very parasites who suck the lifeblood of American workers and their families, who will hope against hope that the money will "trickle (back) down." Who has recently criticized this economic philosophy? It's not going to trickle back down. Instead, we will add 1.3 trillion dollars to our already crushing national debt.
Instead, the federal government can put the money directly into the hands of banks and compel them to lend. They can put the money directly into the hands of businesses that face possible layoffs or closings. The can put money directly into the hands of financial institutions to restructure bad mortgages. Had they done so earlier, they could have averted this crisis. Does anyone remember which political candidate suggested just this-over a year ago?
The Democratic Party has proven definitively (again) that it is not the lesser of two evils, let alone the advocate for the working class. Unable to think, unable to understand, or else merely duped by the mystification of financiers and their economic dissemblers, they have proven that they are either unwilling or unable to imagine another way-a way forward that is equitable, that is based on real economic need, and that has nothing to do with paying off the gambling debts of high-rolling thieves on Wall Street. To the latter, I simply point you to a sign that expresses my sentiments exactly.
To the former, the Democratic Party, I say: your support of this Bill as it stands or in any form that simply hands over money and asks the market to take care of the mess makes you our enemies, not our advocates.
To John McCain, whose campaign chair's firm [Rick Davis's Davis Manafort] was on the payroll of Freddie Mac through August 2008,** I say to you: don't you dare co-opt populist rhetoric and pretend you stand for "reform." The only" reform" you mean is "reform" that removes all regulation. Your reform is the unfettered "free market"--an open season, high altitude helicopter hunting of working class prey.***
To Barack Obama I say: you are a fraud on public credulity. You are no more a "change" agent than I am the Pope. With your support of this bailout, you have acted in direct contradiction to your promise of change-your promise of opposing special interests, of putting Main Street before Wall Street, of finding a way forward that does not beg, borrow or steal from the very people you claim to represent. If you cannot do more than cave to special interests now, what "hope" have we that you will resist them when in office? If you cannot envision another way to save the economy other than paying off the bad debts of billionaires, why should we expect you to "stand up to" special interests when in the office of the President? What is different about taking taxpayer dollars to prop up and bail out wild speculators and special Wall Street investor interests, while demanding no guarantees for halting bankruptcies? What is the "change" you refer to when you advocate and will have voted for propping up the very fiscal predators that you claim to oppose?
You yourself advised that we not put riders on the bill, riders that could allow people to have judges adjudicate bankruptcies in favor of workers. Instead, you are willing to sign a bill that grants tax breaks to the very business who got us in this mess, all the while handing them over 700 billion dollars!
Your next ad should read as follows: "In a time of financial crisis, I stood up to Wall Street. I stood up to special interests. I stood up to predatory lenders. I stood up .and handed them a check for 700 billion dollars. More will probably follow. We had no other choice. These guys threatened to shut down the economy. I'm on your side. Please understand. I'll do better in the future. Just vote for me and I'll change things. This bill helps Main Street. I'm Barack Obama and I approve this bailout."
* Credit card and loan offers still fill the mailboxes of my friends and family members to this day, pre-bailout.
** McCain Aide’s Firm Was Paid by Freddie Mac 24 Sep 2008 One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through last month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement. The disclosure undercuts a remark by Mr. McCain on Sunday night that the campaign manager, Rick Davis, had had no involvement with the company for the last several years.
*** Loan Titans Paid McCain Adviser Nearly $2 Million 22 Sep 2008 Senator John McCain’s campaign manager was paid more than $30,000 a month for five years as president of an advocacy group set up by the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to defend them against stricter regulations, current and former officials say.
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Michael D. Rectenwald, Ph.D.
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