If ever there was a dark conspiracy and moral wrong in my lifetime (age 60) it is the bail out of the Wall Street bankers at the general public’s expense and then the audacity of the Wall Streeters collecting multi-million bonuses made possible by the gift from the taxpayers, extorted from them in the financial catastrophe caused by those who took the public bailout monies.
There really is no defense of this thing.
And why didn’t the Tea Party crowd make an uproar when that first was even suggested? (Actually, I think there was some protest — not enough, though.)
I think the Tea Party had not been formed quite yet. It took the election of the first black president and the realization that the Great Recession was really upon them and that maybe their complacent way of life — current events, what me worry? — was being upset. They found out that folks who call themselves conservatives can do some pretty radical things.
Bush went against what I believe are his own oft-stated principles of free flowing capitalism with its inherent risks and opportunities and of minimal government interference in business to enact the bailouts. Shockingly to me, Barack Obama, who seemed so reasonable during his presidential campaign, went along with and continued the immoral theft of public monies to the greedy and reckless gamblers on Wall Street. He even bailed out a couple of auto companies. And yet the one he did not bail out, Ford, is doing well on its own, or well as can be expected in this Great Recession economy.
And while I think that the so-called Tea Party is full of (possibly not limited to) a lot of ignorant people, some of them bigots, who are Johnny come latelies to the world of current events and even general civics, maybe late is better than never. Maybe the reasonable ones among them (if there are such people) will learn that the tag “Republican” or “conservative” does not always mean what they think it means.
I just read a blog by political activist Robert Creamer (via the Huffington Post), and he said the bailouts may turn out to be a “wedge issue” that divides the Tea Party and the Republican Party. While Tea partiers seem to naturally gravitate toward the Republicans and while Republicans are nearly falling all over themselves and drooling for the support of the Tea Party, those riled populists are none too happy about the Wall Street theft of public money (I am of course paraphrasing his message).
While the Tea Party feels government has gone too far into intrusion into the lives of the citizens on the health care issue, its members do seem to feel that government should rein in Wall Street, he blogged.
Actually, Creamer seemed to indicate some type of irony or disconnect in that they are against big government meddling in health care, but are for it coming down hard on Wall Street (but maybe they just mean they don‘t want government to interfere, not even to help.)
But I see the logic here. If they really believe in the laissez-faire approach, they would both believe that government should essentially stay out of the health care insurance industry and at the same time let business or bankers or investors ply their trade without government support.
He also claimed that the Tea Party thinks that with the new Health Care law the government is stepping in between doctor and patient and even though that is not so (he claims) that argument has such strong personal and emotional pull it has great traction among the populists.
I personally am not quite of the Tea Party mindset, but I agree that big government does not need to prop up big business.
I have talked to people who spout off the small government and conservative line and think the government gets too involved in everyone’s business. But these same people never seem to have any trouble collecting unemployment, Social Security, Disability, small business grants, and so on. They complain about welfare for those who don’t do anything and don’t even try and blame in on the Democrats or the “liberals” or the “socialists” (that used to read “communist” back in the Cold War days). If the government is helping me it is okay — I “deserve” it; if it is helping someone else, that is a problem. And while they say the Democrats are always pushing welfare for the masses, they seem to look the other way at welfare for the big corporations and the Wall Street bankers (or as I said, themselves). Many of them bought into the myth that anything that helps business interests actually helps the individual in the free market economy. But the fact is the citizens at large are being robbed by Wall Street, even Main Street (business) is being ripped off by Wall Street.
Of course there is the trickle down theory, but we seem to be in a drought right now.
At any rate, it is heartening to know that this bailout of the big shots at the public’s expense may come back to bite those who supported it, both Democrats and Republicans.
Creamer said Democrats should utilize this new wedge issue. They can try. But have you ever tried to argue with someone who automatically hates all Democrats and liberals and socialists? Good luck.
I admit, the far right crowd irks me most of the time, but I do try to take their point of view in and even start going along with it — it just seems like they have a hard time following their own ideology themselves at times.
One more time — the bailouts were wrong. Bankruptcy or something equivalent should have taken place, just as it does with individuals. I realize that the crash of major financial institutions would cause havoc for everyone (well, in fact it has). Innocent citizens whose retirement is based on Wall Street investments would suffer. But the Great Recession was caused by insiders gaming the system and ordinary citizens being imprudent and even just as greedy as Wall Streeters in the housing bubble. We were living on a false economy and are now paying the price. I would have preferred that any bailout go to the public at large. Meantime it is imperative that we get back to a real free market system based on honest dealings with strict government oversight (not control) to ensure that all are playing on a level playing field. The electorate, who either went along with or failed to notice the dismantling of so many Depression era market safeguards, is partly to blame.