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Hoover's RFC 2.0

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In the bailout passed by Congress, we have witnessed a new version of Hoover's Reconstruction Finance Corporation that failed to get the economy out of the Depression. It is long overdue for local communities and institutions to be empowered to disburse Federal aid.

Those same irate folks at McCain rallies have been disempowered by the domination of the economy by corporations. People rarely look pretty when they are angry. But regular folks have had their input marginalized in decisions that impact on their lives. They can play a consructive role if, and only if, they become incorporated into the decision-making process. This is not just a matter of Democrats getting elected or Congress reviewing Paulson's actions. It is a matter of restructuring our political and economic institutions.

It is obvious that Paulson's relation to Goldman Sachs and the investment banking industry will be decisive in his distribution of Federal monies. He is unquestionably a fox given the task of guarding the hen house. I opposed the bailout from the beginning. When Congress had an opportunity to review the bill after it was defeated by the House, there could have been many more substantive choices made in changing the amount and the means of distribution of the monies. Much like Hoover's Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1932 that failed, this too shall fail.

As communities are impacted and the local banks that we have come to depend on await the percolation of the funds to the local level, local businesses do not have the luxury of waiting. Disbursement of funds and implementation of financial support of small businesses, home owners and the unemployed needs to start from the bottom up. Local bodies for disbursement need to be structured in a way to address the brush fires already at work in our communities.

The fox is inherently going to go after the chickens. But, as every farmer knows, that is why dogs are as valuable as the roosters when it comes to keeping the eggs rolling. Our watch dogs are the communities themselves and the folks who are most impacted by economic insecurity, housing prices, foreclosures, tight credit, etc.

It is long past the time that we address the fundamental flaws in the economic and political structures that we live under. Waiting for this money to trickle down will not get the money where it is needed quick enough to have any positive impact. Keeping the dogs in the house at night will not keep the foxes at bay.


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I am a Green Party member who lives in San Francisco. I have been active in water planning in the Middle Rio Grande region of New Mexico. I write political articles on the need for third parties, the contemporary failures of public education, the (more...)

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