So I woke up this morning, flipped on the tube, and there was our NeoCon-in-chief, trying to restore confidence in the markets. Flanked by his E-Con team of Bernanke, Paulson and Cox, he announced a new episode in the Wall Street soap opera. The plan is kinda fuzzy, but the bottom line isn't: the federal government will assume responsibility for all the bad mortgages in our financial system, relieving a galaxy of irresponsible financial institutions of the knotty problems they created while the Republicans promoted their no-regulation no-enforcement policies the last 7+ years.
He lectured me that this is not the time to talk about how we got into this mess. But if we don't look at the causes, then the workout plan will be based on the same philosophies and principles (sic) that led to the meltdown; likewise, I've heard no accurate estimate of the extent of the losses--so how prudent is it to write a blank check that could go as high as a trillion dollars. Bush also warned that this unlimited corporate bailout should be fast-tracked through Congress without amendments--so taxpayers will be soaked to protect fat cats while Democratic efforts to throw a few bones to working families (unemployment extensions, food stamps, relief for high gas and heating oil prices) will be thwarted.
Well, there goes health care reform and universal coverage. It's pretty clear that wars and Wall Street will choke the budgets for years to come, and if Obama wins, the Bush legacy will preclude the domestic initiatives that the campaign was about until a month ago. As Naomi Klein has eloquently explained in Shock Doctrine, this is Disaster Capitalism in all its glory. Can we get some of that great advice from the Chicago School, coupled with loans from the World Bank that require that we bust unions and open our markets? I guess we already took care of those last two points. Once again, while Tom Frank would argue that the "wrecking crew" has demolished the surplus and healthy economy Bush inherited, this is all consistent with the Grover Norquist plan to reduce the size of government and structurally prevent social spending by lowering taxes and and running it into the ground.
As Bono once said, "Fucking brilliant".