Part of what’s heartening about this, other than the basic fact, is how much public fury about all these past bail-outs, and this new rotten plan on top of it, has defeated the Pelosi-Bush coalition’s ambitions to ramrod this stinker through as quickly as possible. The obvious fury, combined with the sensitivity of an election season, hobbled the bipartisan
Leadership gang in their abilities to whip other members into rank-and-file. This may be another sign of important cracks in the pillars that hold up the ruling coalition. It’s certainly an opportunity that we ought to seize.
The bad news is that the pols, even (or especially) those who did the most to scotch the deal, all have A Plan for a new and better deal to put in its place. And every plan is stupider than the last. Paulson is still demanding
a plan that works, because
We’ve got much work to do and this is much too important to simply let fail. Peter DeFazzio (D-Occupied Oregon) objected to the bail-out deal on the grounds that
What we are considering today is still built on the Paulson-Bush premise that buying up Wall Street’s bad bets will solve the liquidity problem. But then he turns back around and suggests
We can do better. We should start again on a new package, apparently because a new plan for buying up Wall Street’s bad bets at taxpayer expense will somehow improve on the old one. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who also voted against the bail-out bill, insists that
Inaction has never been an option, but [Treasury chief Henry] Paulson’s plan should never have been our only option. Democratic and their
Progressive enablers have repeatedly hinted that they’d be willing to accept a multibillion dollar bailout if it’s attached to partial nationalization of the firms being bailed out, or re-regulation of financial corporations, or new entitlement programs, or, even better, a combination of all three.
This is a losing approach — because there’s clarity in a simple demand of
No—hell no! that you lose amidst the complicated details of everyone’s latest Great New Plan, once you start horse-trading and concede that it might be O.K. in principle to grab billions of dollars out of working people’s pockets and give it to a bunch of hat-in-hand robber barons begging to go on the government dole, if it can be tied to advancing your other political goals. It’s also the wrong approach, because no matter what strings you might manage to attach, there is no justification whatsoever for this massive act of robbery from working folks. If the things that
Progressives want to get are really worth getting, then they should fight to get those things done on their own; there’s certainly nothing to be gained by hitching them up to this act of plunder. If they cannot practically be got except by conceding to this massive privateering raid, then they are not worth the cost of getting them, and we ought to talk about ways that we can get the things that we really want, outside of the stifling limitations of electoral politics.
There’s remarkably little I could say that wouldn’t just amount to copy-and-paste from what I’ve already said. The stupidity and evil of robbing $700,000,000,000 out of the pockets of working folks, use it to bail politically-connected financial corporations out of their ill-conceived high-risk investments and speculations, and to do so with the explicit purpose of using government force to artificially insulate and stabilize the economic status quo from market reality, should go without saying. So should the right response to make.
No bail-outs. No sweetheart loans. Under no condition. No excuses and no deals. Kill this bug dead, and replace it with nothing.
If the prevailing business model for high-stakes investment banking or mortgage-lending is really viable, then these guys can suck it up and get to work and make their way through this mess the same way that all of us who the government considers small enough to fail are doing. If, on the other hand, their business model can’t survive without having the government repeatedly come around and seize trillions of dollars from working folks who don’t have the money to give and then force them to cover the costs of the money-men’s own stupid mistakes, and to cushion the poor usurers from the reality that nobody really wants to keep buying what it is that they have to sell—well, then, let it die, for God’s sake. Don’t run around finding New Deals or Main Street Bail-outs or any other stupid gimmick to try to tie in along with some tweaked or polished version of Paulson’s Endangered Capitalists Act. We can talk about ways that we can work together to help ourselves and our neighbors and fellow workers make it through these tough times—through practicing radical solidarity, through building alternative institutions, and through organizing grassroots mutual aid. All without wasting billions or trillions more on propping up the dinosaurs of inflation-driven politically-connected go-go finance capital.
Let the robber barons clean up their own mess, or let them hang out to dry if they can’t hack it. Not one damned dime from workers’ pockets to Wall Street. Period. End of political program.