Sunday, September 21, 2008
Brother, Can You Spare $700 Billion?
The leader of the party of low taxes, deregulation, and personal responsibility plans to ask Congress to approve a $700 billion bailout to fix the credit crisis.
Let me repeat, without using my cut-and-paste command: Seven-hundred BILLION dollars.
That's roughly $2,000 for every man, woman and child living in the United States.
Can you imagine what we could have done with $700 billion?
For one thing, every single American could have world-class, guaranteed health coverage, with free prescriptions and possibly complimentary lollipops. Instead, more than forty million Americans are left to fend for themselves, unable to afford to see a doctor.
For all the cranks (often right-wing Christians performing exegesical yoga) that complain about federal social spending, here's some perspective:
In 2007, the federal government spent $254.2 billion on welfare. Today, we're about to spend nearly thrice that amount to try to fix a situation that could have easily been avoided by preserving the simple regulations already enacted by the congress under Franklin D. Roosevelt more than 70 years ago. (Thanks, Bill Clinton & Phil Gramm.)
Conclusion? Before we indict all of the brown people and hillbillies for sucking this country dry, think about the big screw perpetrated by Wall Street types wearing silk suits and slicked-back hair. They may not laze around in a trailer all day, but on this day, they've brought the country (and possibly the world) to its knees in a way that all of Reagan's so-called "welfare queens" could never dream of.
When a politician proposes any kind of government action that might actually help poor and working-class Americans, it's dimissed as "socialism" or "neo-Marxism" (often, ironically, by poor and working-class Republican voters). But when politicians propose government action to help the wealthy and privileged, it's championed as a "bold approach."
Question for anti-socialist free-marketeers: in what way is this proposed bailout anything but (a) the priciest instance of socialism in US history, and (b) a thundering repudiation of Friedman-style laissez-faire economic theory?
Right-winger Michelle Malkin laments:
"This is your Bush legacy — not Pelosi’s, not Reid’s, not Obama’s: A ginormous bailout of every last, failing, panicked financial institution’s illiquid assets that may reach into the trillions — TRILLIONS – when all is said and done.
Reader John in Venice, CA e-mails: “Going forward there is no debate a conservative can win when pitted against a liberal wanting to spend money on social programs. What would the argument be against spending money on terrible social programs? Government money does not work? Conservatives who are supporting this welfare bailout are no different than Maxine Waters or Barbara Boxer. We have lost. Conservatism has absolutely no more moral high ground to speak from.”
Fiscal conservatism has been on life support for quite some time. Bush/Paulson pulled the plug permanently today."
Why do Americans who can't scrape two nickles together continue to vote for politicians who champion the privatization of profits, but socialization of losses for Wall Street?