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Populist Solution to Financial Crisis

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Rebuild Main Street not Wall Street.

We need a populist solution to the financial crisis. Such a solution would give taxpayers' money directly back to taxpayers who need it; it would not give any more to corrupt corporations. We need citizens' welfare, not corporate welfare.

Wall Street doesn't get it. It claims that Main Street is so interwoven with Wall Street that what's good for Wall Street is good for Main Street. Unfortunately, the problem is that what's good for Wall Street is bad for Main Street, and suddenly nobody outside of Wall Street wants to keep that corrupt system going. The defeat of the bailout package in the House of Representatives was a combination of ideology and practicality, a vote by fiscally responsible conservatives who couldn't take it anymore, and prudent liberals listening to the avalanche of outraged emails from constituents. It was a vote of no-confidence in the privatized financial system.

What to do now? Simple. Give the $700 billion directly back to the Americans who need it: Use it as a relief fund to forestall foreclosures, protect bank accounts, and to boost unemployment insurance. But make it payable to the individuals affected, not institutions. One stunned talking head on CNBC stammered, "But you can't just give $700 billions to individuals!" Of course we can. Just stipulate the conditions for qualifying individuals (e.g., a foreclosure notice, etc.) and have them apply directly to the Treasury Department, which will send them a check.

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Use whatever is left over, if anything, to start a massive public works program to rebuild and expand American's infrastructure, particularly its railroads, and develop renewable alternative energies. Just do it!


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Adrian Kuzminski is a local activist in upstate New York, and Research Scholar in Philosophy at Hartwick College. He is the author of FIXING THE SYSTEM: A HISTORY OF POPULISM, ANCIENT & MODERN (Continuum Books).

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