I wonder, yes I wonder, where the $700 billion dollars that went to the banks last fall came from. And how about the $850 billion Obama is pushing for? Where will all this money come from?
I'm not an economist, so I don't understand much of the fancy language used to explain things. Here are my simple thoughts on the matter.
The US Treasury has accumulated the largest debt ever- $10.7 TRILLION dollars. So there's no money in the Treasury to cover the bailout.
Will the treasury raise money from the taxpayers? No, the talk is all about cutting taxes to give the economy a stimulus. Besides, the tax base is shrinking, as workers are laid off and the overall income of the country's taxpayers is falling.
Will the government just print more money? Perhaps this is the plan, but doesn't that lead to inflation? We haven't seen prices rise much so far, but doesn't more money in circulation mean that it's worth less? Isn't this what happened in Germany in the 30's?
Well, the US will continue to borrow from other countries, as we have been doing. Doesn't that put us further into debt? John McCain is yelling that we are burdening the next generation with a huge debt. Is he correct?
I can see three obvious sources of money for the US treasury- real sources of real money, that can be used to stem the flow of red ink.
1) Tax the rich. The progressive income tax was in force until Reagan dismantled it. Under FDR, it reached 90% of higher incomes, and helped to bring us out of the Great Depression. Given the obscene salaries of corporate executives these days, a progressive income tax would raise lots of money and equalize the playing field a bit.
2) Go after war criminals, and confiscate their ill-gotten gains. Where I live, in Mendocino County, CA, the sheriff routinely takes the cash of raided marijuana growers, often thousands of dollars- and gets to keep it if the courts convict the grower. Vehicles are impounded for minor violations, and kept by the county if the owner doesn't pay an exhorbitant fee. These confiscations represent a major source of revenue for our local government.
Halliburton and Carlyle, the Cheney and Bush family corporations, have made billions, if not trillions, from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as have some of their cronies. Why not take this money back for We the People? Likewise, the money that has gone into offshore banks from rogue corporations should be returned to the US Treasury.
3) Perhaps the biggest and healthiest source of money to restore the American economy is the Pentagon budget. Our economy is constructed on war. The Iraq war has cost $1 to 1.5 TRILLION dollars to date. The Afghani war adds probably another .5$ TRILLION. These figures are hard to come by, but various estimates agree they are in this range.
There's our bailout money right there- bring all the troops home and stop spending money on these wars, which only breed hatred and more violence.
There are many other military programs that could be cut if peace were to break out on the planet. Barak Obama has pledged to try to rid the world of nuclear weapons- we are spending roughly $50 billion/year on this program. Missile defense, which destabilizes the arms race- costs another $20-30 billion/year.
If the Pentagon budget, now over half of the discretionary federal budget (non Social Security, Medicare and other fixed programs), were to be slashed, the money could be used for butter, not guns, to use the classic paradigm. Obama does seem to be moving in this direction.
There is a Peace Plan circulating that would stabilize the Holy Land, and from there bring peace to the planet. If you would like to see it, email me at email@example.com. We are building support that will reach the highest levels of government, and enable us to start the healing process.
As Sitting Bull said "Let us put our minds together and see what kind of life we can make for ."
Carol S. Wolman, MD is a psychiatrist in Northern California. A lifelong peace activist, she is helping to distribute a Peace Plan for the Holy Land- email her for a copy. She also a film producer with Paradise Cove Productions, currently (more...)