Meltdown

      The problem with President Bush’s $700 billion bank bailout is not just that it is corrupt and will not work – it’s that it’s beside the point. It does not address the problem.
     The problem is that economic growth for the rest of the world is built upon manufacturing and exports; in the United States under George W. Bush economic growth has been based upon debt.
     This $700 billion scam would spend our money to buy up bad mortgages from mortgage companies and banks whose bosses made billions from the greatest serial mortgage fraud in history – but it will do nothing to prevent it from happening again.
     It will not expose their books to the light of day.
     It will not force the thieves to return the billions of dollars they stole.
     It will not spend one penny on bank regulators who could have prevented this fiasco if they had been allowed to do their jobs.
     This financial meltdown is not a crisis. It’s the logical result of President Bush’s policies.
     A government that annually hands out $500 billion more than its people actually earn or create in goods should have a much healthier growth rate we have had for eight years.
     In his mendacious and cowardly address to the nation, President Bush refused to take any responsibility for this, or trace this financial catastrophe to its source in his own policies.
     “The whole world is watching to see if we can act quickly to shore up our markets,” Bush said in pressuring Congress to allow him to abdicate and let Hank Paulson become king.
     But the markets are just the fever that indicates the disease.
     The disease is twofold. First, Americans cheerful idiocy: the belief that just because we have a credit card we can buy whatever we want – no matter what it costs, and if it’s one of those rare things still made in the United States, no matter how much we pay our workers to make it.
     Second, is the government’s dereliction of duty: its failure to enforce laws and regulations already on the books that could have prevented this.
     New York Times columnist David Brooks, an apologist for these crooks in and out of government, wrote this week: “At its base, the turmoil wracking the world financial markets is a crisis of confidence.”
     No it’s not. Turmoil is wracking the financial markets because you cannot spend trillions of dollars you do not have and expect to get away with it forever.
     Europe, Asia and Latin America survive by producing, selling and exporting real goods for which people pay real money. Increasingly, Americans survive by borrowing money and shuffling paper.
     Last year the “financial industry” accounted for 27.4% of all U.S. corporate profits. Its workers were paid 9.8% of all U.S. wages and salaries.
     But bank workers and investment advisers do not produce 27.4% of our country’s goods and services, or even 10% of them – if they do, we’re in worse shape than we all think.
     The New York Times, in explaining the financial meltdown this week, said the bank crisis must be addressed quickly to help “ordinary Americans who depend on their finances to buy homes and cars, and to pay for college.”
     Ordinary Americans today do “depend on their finances.” We don’t depend on our incomes. That word substitution hides a trillion-dollar shell game.
     Ordinary debt can be a wonderful thing. It allows us to buy houses and cars and to send our children to college. But the millionaires and the right-wing government whores who created this fiasco have not been dealing in ordinary debt for years. They have been dealing in unregulated financial derivatives – paper shuffling that Warren Buffett calls financial weapons of mass destruction.
     The last time Bush hustled us into a trillion-dollar dog and pony show, it was to find weapons of mass destruction that did not exist. This time the weapons are in plain sight, and we are told that they’re not important.
     Sorry. Sell it to the Marines who make it back from Fallujah.
     Bush’s plan to stuff the hogs in the banks and insurance companies with $700 billion will not control their multitrillion-dollar crimes. It leaves them uncontrolled, operating in the dark. In fact, the bailout plan proposes new protections for the private equity sharks who will buy up the debt, and who demand that they be exempted from banking regulations after they buy the banks.
     Sure, Hank Paulson says: Where’s the harm in that?
     Another part of the “rescue” plan would insure money market funds, setting the stage for another multitrillion-dollar thievery: a carbon copy of what happened when the federal government deregulated the savings and loans but kept insuring them.
     This is theft. This is aiding and abetting one of the greatest financial frauds in history.
     Bush’s bailout rewards the people who created the problem and holds no one accountable. It will not subject these thieves to any oversight at all. It just props up the house of cards until next time.
     President Bush must be held accountable. Our pathetic press must ask him what part his policies played in this, until it forces him to admit that his policies – deregulation of the financial industry, deregulation of everything except labor -caused it.
     If John McCain wins the election, then Phil Gramm, who carried the bill that allowed credit default swaps to grow into a $62 trillion unregulated shell game, may be our next Treasury secretary. Bush, McCain and Wall Street’s other pimps and enablers must be put on the record before that disaster happens.
     We have seen a right-wing, laissez faire corporate-fascist government run the economy into the ground. Now to rescue itself it’s turned to socialism.
     If capitalism is the best system, why, in times of crisis, is socialism the answer?
     And if socialism is the answer for the banks, for the world’s biggest insurance group, for mortgage brokers, for Bear Stearns and for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, why isn’t socialism the answer for the rest of us?

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