Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wall Street Wimps

This whole buy out of Bear-Stearns really ticks me off. It certainly puts the lie to the idea that all these rich people believe in a free market and are against government help. They just don't want to see the government help out the poor guy who is losing his home due to predator lending practices from these very same rich people, or the person dying of cancer without health insurance because their employers only gives them 36 hours a week so they can be listed as part-time and get no benefits. E. J. Dionne Jr. nails it in a very good article titled The Street on Welfare:

Never do I want to hear again from my conservative friends about how brilliant capitalists are, how much they deserve their seven-figure salaries and how government should keep its hands off the private economy.

The Wall Street titans have turned into a bunch of welfare clients. They are desperate to be bailed out by government from their own incompetence, and from the deregulatory regime for which they lobbied so hard. They have lost “confidence“ in each other, you see, because none of these oh-so-wise captains of the universe have any idea what kinds of devalued securities sit in one another's portfolios.

So they have stopped investing. The biggest, most respected investment firms threaten to come crashing down. You can't have that. It's just fine to make it harder for the average Joe to file for bankruptcy, as did that wretched bankruptcy bill passed by Congress in 2005 at the request of the credit card industry. But the big guys are “too big to fail,“ because they could bring us all down with them.

Everything for the rich guy and nothing the rest of us. Does anyone still think the Republicans are for anyone BUT the very rich? Bush was happy to spend $20 billion to help the them but for the rest of us it's our own faults for not being smart enough and good enough to be rich.

But if this near meltdown of capitalism doesn't encourage a lot of people to question the principles they have carried in their heads for the past three decades or so, nothing will.

Nothing will, the ideas of the neocons and the rich have reached the point of an ideology as powerful as any religion. No amount of reality will shake their beliefs. But I hope the rest of us can learn their idea of less government was never more than a sham. A complete lie meant only to put more money in their pockets.

So now the bailouts begin, and Wall Street usefully might feel a bit of gratitude, perhaps by being willing to have the wealthy foot some of the bill or to acknowledge that while its denizens were getting rich, a lot of Americans were losing jobs and health insurance. I'm waiting.

Don't hold your breath, E. J. That could really damage your health.

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