Everybody sing along.
We’re all socialists now,
We’re all socialists now.
Dubya’s nationalized the economy,
We’re all socialists now.”
(With apologies to Garrison Keillor.) OK, folks, welcome to full-blown oligarchy–government that socializes the losses of big business while privatizing the profits and promoting corporate welfare through gigantic contracts for military build-ups and outdated energy plans. It’s a form of government not unlike, um, well, dare I say… oh, never mind, comparisons are odious. Google oligarchy and come up with your own examples.
Meanwhile, we’d best keep a sense of humor as long as possible, and laugh at the irony of what is happening. The administration that most loudly touted free enterprise, the “ownership society” and deregulation, while lambasting anyone who disagreed, just nationalized several of the world’s biggest mega-industries and is promising bailouts for scads of others in the form of a monster mortgage-buying scheme–pricetage? $700 billion–the biggest bailout in the history of the known universe.
Expenses related to the U.S. military–the most collectivist enterprise in history–will have cost the taxpayers at least $10 trillion by the end of the Bush presidency, counting annual budgets and our on-going War in Iraq, which already had cost at least $3.3 trillion, before the recent bailouts.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz makes the case that this economic meltdown should be considered part of the cost of the Iraq War, which he says soaked up much of the economy’s liquidity and prompted acts to promote artificial liquidity in the markets through lower interest rates and less regulation the past seven years.
When considering the culpability Bush bears, consider a quote from this hugely suppressed story at www.projectcensored.org about the fall of Eliot Spitzer, whose biggest “crime” might’ve been his crusade against rapacious practices emanating from Wall Street in league with the White House.
On February 14, the Washington Post published an editorial by Spitzer titled, “Predatory Lenders’ Partner in Crime: How the Bush Administration Stopped the States From Stepping In to Help Consumers,” which charged, “Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye.”
In this editorial, Spitzer explained:
The administration accomplished this feat through an obscure federal agency called the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The OCC has been in existence since the Civil War. Its mission is to ensure the fiscal soundness of national banks. For 140 years, the OCC examined the books of national banks to make sure they were balanced, an important but uncontroversial function. But a few years ago, for the first time in its history, the OCC was used as a tool against consumers.
In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government’s actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules.
But the unanimous opposition of the 50 states did not deter, or even slow, the Bush administration in its goal of protecting the banks. In fact, when my office opened an investigation of possible discrimination in mortgage lending by a number of banks, the OCC filed a federal lawsuit to stop the investigation.”