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Friday, January 18, 2008

Free Marketeers Flip Flop From Agin'-Gu'ment Looting Sprees to Big Gu'ment Bailouts in No Time Flat

"You Never Give Me Your Money," by the Beatles. Abbey Road, of course. The marvelously silly vid's a tribute by britishpeople.

Dorothy Parker once notoriously snarked of a film actress's disappointing performance that it had "run the gamut of emotion, from A to B."

One finds a comparable range of insight in our free-marketeers.

Randian paragons, daring innovators, rugged individualists all, they oscillate like a pendulum between highly profitable (to some) Anti-government looting sprees and then to highly profitable (to some) Big Government bailouts to clean up their messes for them in the aftermath of the looting sprees. These strategies are then repeated in an endless cycle of looting and bailouts, like a nightmarish market fundamentalist eternal recurrence for the rest of us.

These two complementary strategies also constitute the full gamut (from A to B) of "Ideas" coming out of the Right that the corporate media and the neoliberal thinktanks have been cheerleading for thirty years as "exciting" and "new" (come aboard, we're expecting you!) as against the tired sad-sacks of the Left with their dour and frumpy demands for fairness and safety and accountability and so on. Bo-ring!

It's easy to see why Obama would want to recycle the tired old line about all the Big Ideas coming from the libertarian and Movement Conservative Right for decades as he frames his own "Change" agenda… NOT! (Okay, okay, I promise to beat up less on Obama in future, I'm sure he would make a fine President, certainly compared to the killer clowns the Republicans are offering up, but honestly, why take up this dreadful lying narrative even obliquely?)

Over in the Moot earlier this afternoon, Eric (yeah, that Eric: my partner) draws my attention to a growing chorus of pleas for public bailouts for the crooks and liars responsible for the growing subprime mortgage crisis:
[O]nce again we see the calls beginning to come out from the Great Free Market Capitalists for the government (read: non-rich taxpayers) to bail them out. What is that I hear in the distance? RTC! RTC!

Defend that shit you pro-crony capitalist whores.

If you want a bailout, use your much vaunted economic genius to bail yourselves out...or, even better, to not get into these messes in the first place. It isn't as though this crisis was unforeseeable.

To which he later added:
[T]hey claim to be deserving of their wealth because they are great risk takers all the while riding golden parachutes for failure and securing welfare from the state for themselves. Some risk.


I'll add this myself, briefly: There should be no more bailouts of industries without nationalizing the industries we bail out. Honestly. Bailouts should have teeth. We can always sell the industries back to the vampires, er, I mean to those fountainheads of all progress, our Beloved Innovative Incumbent Overlords, but only after these industries have returned through public shepherding to solvency and sense, and sold at a profit that benefits us all for a change. I'll add this, too. The well-nigh inevitability of this sort of asshole dumbass behavior among our profit-taking classes is why we need a basic income guarantee and universal healthcare to protect everyday law-abiding people from the worst excesses of our glorious greedy soopergenius "Investor Class," since we were kind enough to take violent Revolution off the table for now, admittedly to the good of us all.


gf said...

Your comment on the basic income guarantee during this whole debacle reminded me of something I've been pondering over ever since I began working with a lot of teachers and state employees: STRS and PERS.

This may not be exactly what you meant by guaranteed income (pensions these days are anything but that); but the success of PERS and STRS is something to be noted. And as I've helped edit the wiki for the articles on them, I've noticed a bit of vandalism from people who say they need to include the 'common man' into these types of pension funds.

Now, I guess my question here is two-fold: 1. Do you think that these types of public pension funds would be a viable form of income guarantees for other non-school/state employees? And if so, 2. What keeps these people from establishing their own public funds?

I realize that PERS and STRS have quite a bit of clout about them, and that people generally attack the largest targets, but if non-strs/pers workers put away 8-10% of their paycheck into their IRA invested in a low-cost mutual fund account, they could achieve, at the very least, something over and above the social security net, and perhaps even comparable to a pension retirement.

Anyway, I'll think more on it.

De Thezier said...

Did you ever read and review Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich by Kevin Phillips

Anonymous said...

The problem with nationalisation/privatisation is that it somehow tends to either leave all those who bungled the thing in charge, just changing their job title or replacing them with inexpirienced appointees. Not to mention what with loans sold and re-sold those in need of bailout _aren't_ those who set that little scheme up.

So. althogh idea of Wall Street facing the music for a change is very appealing it may be even worse for everybody than letting them get away. Something like nationalising the real estate itself might work... But they won't do it.