29 September 2008

Burn, baby, burn

I've abandoned my child! I've abandoned my boy!


Now, you probably haven't missed me, given that the only story in the past week is the apparent pending collapse of the American financial industry which, as I've established before, I know virtually nothing about--in other words, about as much as John McCain knows. All I can tell is that there's a Big Shitpile, and if we don't pay Wall Street bankers $700 billion immediately to take the shitpile off their hands, it'll be Great Depression 2.0: The Depressioning.

This bailout package is either necessary to keep the shitpile from totally collapsing the economy, or the most blatant extortion racket in American history, or possibly both. I can't begin to tell you whether it's necessary or not, but I don't have the first bit of confidence in our business-owned government to make sure this is a real emergency and not just a handout to billionaires. I'm not the only one who sees the resemblance between between this situation and the Iraq war resolution in 2002; a burgeoning crisis that must be answered !right now! without any time for the public to digest the consequences. And Paulson's original proposal--give us the money now, no questions, no strings attatched--doesn't strike me as coming from a man who is serious about making a good-faith compromise to thwart impending doom.

If Paulson and his Wall Street comrades--We Are All Socialists Now, apparently--really want that money, now seems like a good time to give it to them nailed down with a full spread of progressive demands. As the original proposal showed, however, they have no interest in anything except a deferrential offer because they're more than willing to hold the contry hostage until we give in to their demands. After an overwhelming pubilc outpouring, the House rejected a version of the bailout bill on Monday, with representatives facing the biggest electoral challenges in November playing the deciding factor. You may think this looks like a rare victory for democracy, but you'd be wrong. The Dow plunged 777 points after the bill failed, as the public's financial masters reminded them who's making the rules here.

I expect this will scare the pubilc enough to provide the political cover needed to pass the bailout. And practically that may be the best thing. In a better world, we might have a democratic government that did more than the bidding of big business, but that ship has long since sailed. The bankers are, as always, in the stronger position, because they will walk away with the most toys regardless of what happens. When Jesus said "the poor will always be with you," he hadn't considered the antithesis in modern gangster capitalism.