I’m not usually a one-issue voter. I mean I don’t think I ever decided not to vote for someone over their stand on one issue, such as gun rights, abortion rights, school prayer, gay marriage, and so on, you know, the hot button topics.
But this bank bailout — history I know — but to realize from the latest news that taxpayers, which is all of us, were the benefactors of some $1.6 billion in bonuses to fat cat bankers who were bailed out by the federal government and that they will not be forced to pay them back is really enough to make me a one-issue voter.
I admit that I am often bewildered by the subject of economics. But on the one hand we were all told that the whole economic system of the United States would collapse if the government did not bail out the banks. So the banks took the money and then rewarded those who oversaw the near collapse of the economic and banking system with the bonuses, bonuses made possible by taxpayer funds.
From the very beginning, when George W. Bush proposed the bailouts and on through Barack Obama’s continuation of the bailout program, I blogged that it was wrong. Let the banks go bankrupt or be reorganized through existing government rules.
You see, economically challenged as I may be, I understand that what happens in capitalism is that while some capitalists fail, the void will be filled by others. I don’t think capital disappears, it just moves from one hand to the other.
It is true that holders of capital will sit on it for a while until they see the right timing or in times of change, such as now, until they know what the rules going forward are.
The government should be the watchdog over the economy to see that everyone is playing by the rules, and there does need to be rules. The government in lo these past many years has failed in its watchdog capacity and it did discard some of the rules.
And I am not too sure but what the Obama administation has made a mistake in enacting too many new rules with its latest reform legislation, but that is not my point here — the business community at least will now find out what the new rules are, although that will take time, I understand, as the new law goes into the administrative rule making process.
It is a mistake to have the government run the economy. Only the market can do that.
It is a mistake to think that no one should lose out. If no one lost out, no one would win.
In a robust economy, though, it can almost seem like everyone is a winner. Certainly, in that case, everyone has a chance.
What we are suffering from now is the battle of the extremes, with social elitists on one side trying to create a system in which no one ever suffers and special business interests on the other side who want the whole economy to work for them.
We need to go back to a more centrist approach in which business can thrive and the government can carry out its watchdog activities to ensure fair play in the market and fair play, but not direct subsidy, and safety rules for those who depend upon wages paid by capitalists, as well as modern environmental protections for the preservation of our planet and the safety of all.
A straight forward and far less arcane tax system would be of great benefit too. Too much capital is expended in enforcing the present tax code and too much revenue is lost in the process.
And I still believe that our continuing war exploits do little to ensure our defense and in fact only promote more hostility and may ultimately bankrupt us.
The Soviet Union spent many long wasteful years in Afghanistan and went bankrupt due to its military intervention there as well as the failure of the Soviet economic system itself.
But those bailouts and the idea that while everyone else is told they must tighten their belts, we must at the same time sit back and watch the bankers laugh all the way back to their banks with our money.
(And I realize that not all bankers fall into this category.)
Maybe the Tea Party is right on this one. We should throw out the whole ruling class and start over.
Whoa, that kind of sounds like what I’ve read about the French Revolution (I would hope we could do this at the ballot box and avoid the violence.)