Bush, Paulson make Dillinger look like a Boy Scout
As the Bush administration attempts to ram a bailout package of nearly one trillion dollars through Congress, it begins to feel like Colonel Sanders asking the public to trust him to take care of the chickens.
If it weren't so damn serious, there would be something almost comical about it. Here we have the White House, which has squandered trillions of dollars over eight years, and its point man, Hank Paulson, fresh from 38 years of gaming the financial system while working at Goldman Sachs, insisting that Congressional leaders hand over a trillion dollars to them with no debate and no strings attached.
In this real life drama, Bush and Paulson make John Dillinger, the legendary bank robber of the Depression years, look like a Boy Scout.
This is not "socialism for the rich,"- as some have suggested. Socialist measures would thoroughly clean up and stabilize the financial system to be sure, but a socialist-led government would also place the good as well as the bad assets of the responsible parties (commercial and investment banks, private equity firms, and hedge funds) into the hands of a public democratically run authority. It would turn the Federal Reserve Bank, which during the Greenspan era was one of the main architects and cheerleaders of bubble economics (hi-tech, stock market and, its latest version, housing) into a publicly controlled institution. And it would bring those responsible to trial and penalize them appropriately, if convicted.
At the same time, a socialist-led government and its congressional allies would funnel money to homeowners and working people and enact special measures to assist communities of the racially oppressed, not to mention our rural towns. It would rebuild our nation's deteriorating infrastructure, invest in renewable energy and green jobs, and bring the Iraq war to a quick end. It would also propose the people's takeover of the energy complex, which has also turned into a cash cow of the wealthiest corporations.
Does it make any sense to give control of our financial and economic system for the indefinite future to the same individuals, who while gaming the system, got us into this mess in the first place? I can't think of anything that is less democratic or goes against the grain of common sense.
In the money and banking textbooks that I read years ago, our financial institutions and system supposedly channeled idle money to productive uses "" to new technologies and business startups, to build homes and create jobs, to invest in new plant and equipment, and to construct and renew our nation's infrastructure, while extracting handsome profits all the while.
Looking back, it is fair to say that banks and investment houses did perform this function for a period in capitalism's development, but that period has largely passed.
Finance capital's rise and ultra-right rule
Indeed, with the rise to dominance of the extreme right and the reassertion of power by finance capital three decades ago, our financial system has operated more or less independently of other sectors of the economy, functioned largely free of any regulatory body, and grown exponentially.
Finance capital has facilitated megamergers, takeovers and corporate flight to off shore locations; it has wreaked havoc on sovereign states and their economies, particularly in the developing world; it has without as much as a thought introduced enormous instability into the arteries of the U.S. and world economy, evidenced by the frequent financial contagions at home and globally.
And, it has been one of the main class agents to successfully engineer the biggest transfer of wealth in our nation's history from wealth creators -- the world's working people -- to wealth appropriators, the upper crust of U.S. finance capital, while leaving at the same time our nation with an astronomical pile up of household, government and corporate debt that cannot be unwound overnight.