Monday, January 12, 2009

The 8th Amendment doesn't cover this!

Let me see if I have this straight.  $8.5 trillion dollars.  How can they possibly dream up that much money?  That's 16 Iraqi Wars.  That will double the national debt.  That's $28,333 per American, or $113,000 for a family of four.  I had to do the math by hand because my on-screen calculator won't let me have enough zeroes. 


All of the bailout packages, loan guarantees and stimulus packages are adding up to $8.5 Trillion so far. And the worst part -- where's it going?  The banks happily took their first $300 billion, and didn't do anything with it.  It was supposed to get passed into the economy to ease everybody's way as a solution to the credit crunch.  But our modern day robber-barons, the same banking executives that drew up all of those junk loans, took the money and gave bonuses to their executives.


And so much for the auto bailout helping workers.  Even though the auto kings got some of their cash, they’re still laying off workers and closing dealerships.  How exactly does that help working people?


Let’s send the bankers, the insurance executives, the auto czars and our Congresspeople to greed-aholics anonymous.  Step one, admit you have a problem.  Our economy doesn't work. Our economy has become history’s greatest ponzi scheme.  Bigger than Madoff, bigger than AMWAY.   It starts with bad debt, and adds on more debt.  And the victim of a ponzi scheme is always the person who buys in last.  That’s where those junk loans came in.  You could almost hear the echoes of the bankers from not-too-distant radio ads, “oh, please, buy in!  Keep it all afloat!  5-year APR at 1.5%, and we’ll schedule your foreclosure for 2008.”


It hasn't been working for years.  The people who’ve been making the billions don’t actually produce anything.  They’ve been presenting pictures of the good life with smoke and mirrors while we’ve been sending manufacturing jobs out of the country.  We’ve been using the federal credit card to finance the whole scheme, and asking the military to kick in and keep global markets open for exploitation.  Two-thirds of American corporations don't pay taxes.  We’re going to bail them out?


I don't mind the idea of taking action to "fix" the economy, and I imagine that it would have to be substantial.  But they're bailing out the wrong half of the economy.  I pretty much don't give a rat's ass about the bankers or the auto executives.  But I do care that people are losing their homes, that schools are eliminating services to kids, and that people can't afford to see a doctor when they're sick.  What if we had a plan that started with the concept of protecting peoples’ needs.  No matter what, let’s make a commitment to securing housing, health care, schooling and food for everyone.  How much would that cost?  It won’t take $8.5 Trillion, that’s for sure.


And then, any part of our economy that’s not working might just wither away (isn’t that what Marx said?).  If it was never working in the first place, why waste money trying to fix it?  When the next business collapses, sure there will be an impact, but if we focus on the needs of the people who are affected, housing, food, health care and education, then at least those people will have the ability to get through it. 


The parts of the economy that are solid get the boost of not having to carry the dead weight around, and new economies can develop which are based on the fact that we are emphasizing peoples’ needs.