Financial Shock and Awe

The mother of all bail-outs is upon us– approaching a trillion dollars in federal funds, that is, in tax-payer’s money, to get the big gamblers and hustlers and sharpies off the hook– and it’s way beyond global. Let’s call it galactic or stratospheric. It is awesome, and the questions just keep on coming:

When the big guys were raking in super-profits, we were not invited to the table to share the wealth, so why are we now told we must share the pain?

Isn’t this socialism for the rich?

If “government is the problem” and the genius of the “free market” the solution to everything from health care and education to national defense and public safety, why are the marketeers in line with their hands out?

We were told repeatedly by the powerful that there wasn’t enough money for decent health care for all, wonderful schools for poor kids, and support for a life of dignity and purpose for the elderly, so how did a trillion dollars suddenly materialize?

Further if full and generous funding for education and health care would turn ordinary, hard-working citizens into lazy, dissolute louts– that’s what they said– then what can we hope for the moral well-being of the financial wizards?

Is the government of the people, by the people, for the people, or has it finally become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Big Finance, Big Oil, and Big Pharma?

We were reminded that our patriotic duty required that we support a war-of-choice costing $500,000 per minute, but who profits, and who suffers in war?

I’m just asking…

17 Responses to Financial Shock and Awe

  1. zeno says:

    Yes, it is Socialism for the rich. But it is still socialism. And that is why it is bad.

  2. mangograss says:

    Dennis Kucinich on the bailout:

    Yesterday marked a day that will go down in history, when Congressional Democrats and Republicans alike took on full responsibility to protect the interests of taxpaying Americans, and defeated the deceptive bail out bill, defying the dictates of the Administration, the House Majority Leadership, the House Minority Leadership and the special interests on Wall Street.

    Obviously Congress must consider quickly another course. There are immediate issues which demand attention and responsible action by the Congress so that the taxpayers, their assets, and their futures are protected.

    We MUST do something to protect millions of Americans whose homes, bank deposits, investments, and pensions are at risk in a financial system that has become seriously corrupted. We are told that we must stabilize markets in order for the people to be protected. I think we need to protect peoples’ homes, bank deposits, investments, and pensions, to order to stabilize the market.

    We cannot delay taking action. But the action must benefit all Americans, not just a privileged few. Otherwise, more plans will fail, and the financial security of everyone will be at risk.

    The $700 billion bailout would have added to our existing unbearable load of national debt, trade deficits, and the cost of paying for the war. It would have been a disaster for the American public and the government for decades and maybe even centuries to come.

    To be sure, there are many different reasons why people voted against the bailout. The legislation did not regard in any meaningful way the plight of millions of Americans who are about to lose their homes. It did nothing to strengthen existing regulatory structures or impose new ones at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve in order to protect investors. There were no direct protections for bank depositors. There was nothing to stop further speculation, which is what brought us into this mess in the first place.

    This was a bailout for some firms (and investors) on Wall Street, with the idea that in doing so there would be certain, unspecified, general benefits to the economy.

    This is a perfect time to open a broader discussion about our financial system, especially our monetary system. Such a discussion is like searching for a needle in a haystack, and then, upon finding it, discussing its qualities at great length. Let me briefly describe the haystack instead.

    Here is a very quick explanation of the $700 billion bailout within the context of the mechanics of our monetary and banking system:

    The taxpayers loan money to the banks. But the taxpayers do not have the money. So we have to borrow it from the banks to give it back to the banks. But the banks do not have the money to loan to the government. So they create it into existence (through a mechanism called fractional reserve) and then loan it to us, at interest, so we can then give it back to them.


    This is the system. This is the standard mechanism used to expand the money supply on a daily basis not a special one designed only for the “$700 billion” transaction. People will explain this to you in many different ways, but this is what it comes down to.

    The banks needed Congress’ approval. Of course in this topsy turvy world, it is the banks which set the terms of the money they are borrowing from the taxpayers. And what do we get for this transaction? Long term debt enslavement of our country. We get to pay back to the banks trillions of dollars ($700 billion with compounded interest) and the banks give us their bad debt which they cull from everywhere in the world.

    Who could turn down a deal like this? I did.

    The globalization of the debt puts the United States in the position that in order to repay the money that we borrow from the banks (for the banks) we could be forced to accept International Monetary Fund dictates which involve cutting health, social security benefits and all other social spending in addition to reducing wages and exploiting our natural resources. This inevitably leads to a loss of economic, social and political freedom.

    Under the failed $700 billion bailout plan, Wall Street’s profits are Wall Street’s profits and Wall Street’s losses are the taxpayers’ losses. Profits are capitalized. Losses are socialized.

    We are at a teachable moment on matters of money and finance. In the coming days and weeks, I will share with you thoughts about what can be done to take us not just in a new direction, but in a new direction which is just.

  3. not a terrorist like you bill says:

    Fuck you terrorist, your blood thirsty rhetoric doesn’t fly well with us you piece of shit.

  4. broker889 says:

    Hey communist dope. When you write something as stupid as the country is a wholly owned subsidiary of big pharma, big oil…blah blah come you never mention that those industries provide damn good jobs for about 10 million people. I have read your bio. You have never contributed anything to this country (except to embarrass it). Your entire existence is irrelevant. Feel free to leave at any time you hypocritical jackass.

  5. humanequality says:

    I grew up watching the news of the VIetnam conflict during dinner (when it appeared to be ‘news’ rather than linked together soundbites). I was called a niave teenager who didn’t understand the importance of people dying for ‘protecting democracy.’ Bless my parents, they were WWII era people who truly wanted to believe that Dad’s service (and all those to follow) were for the protection of our democracy.

    As I watched the graphic reports from Vietnam; read the ‘body count’ articles in our local paper; and, watched the protests happening throughout the country, I wondered how we could afford such waste! Such waste in human life. Such waste in tax dollars — tax dollars that could be used for social programs.

    All this to say, I’m confused, too — and have been throughout the decades. I’m still called niave; but why is this country so eager to spend billions of dollars to kill and be killed (and, now, to bail out Wall Street and CEOs who outsource our jobs and ruin our economy — but fails to see the needs in our own country?

    I never gave nationalized health care much thought (except that I believed everyone should be entitled to quality care); however, I recently lost my job and cannot afford COBRA — I never thought it would happen to me!

    So, from a perpetually niave person, how can our government pass such a huge bail-out bill and not care about it’s people?

  6. ken says:

    Socialism is bad? I guess having police, firemen, road construction, schools, military is bad. Labelling all socialistic aspects as bad is simply an ignorant statement.

    Vietnam was a War Crime
    Iraq War is a war Crime
    9/11 was done by USA/Israel

    Amerika is the biggest terrorist nation on this Earth. No other country can compare to the bombing and murder Amerika has committed around the world.

    I was raised in the communistic brotherhood of the Marine Corps and then worked in the capitalist greed as an Investment Banker. Capitalism is by far the worst social/economic construct I have been involved with.

    Only in Capitalism do people only care about themselves at the expense of their fellow man. Capitalism only cares about the selfishness of the individual, while all other social/economic systems care about the group as a whole.

    Amerika = Fascist War Crime state.

  7. JY says:

    Mr Ayers,

    I can see that you are seizing the opportunity to jump at the recent financial meltdown to stoke hate for our govt. with your liberal/socialist idealogy, creating a class warfare and fear, seducing everyone with your eloquent words.

    I am not saying that our govt is perfect. It is people like you who brain washed our children we should be careful off.

    I wonder what your parents would say to hear you telling children to kill their parents. You are not a very nice man and I am being too kind.

    If you hate the US so much, I am sure dictators like the Castro brothers and Chavez would embrace you. Yet, I dont understand why you are still living in this great country. I like to hear your explaination/excuse. This is a free country, you have right to your speeches but please do not try to corrupt impressionable young children, discontented adults. Keep your ideas to yourself, please

  8. KHN says:

    Many americans are still brainwashed to think that anything that opposes strong capitalism is evil and bad. Well, I’m from Norway where we have a socialist-democratic government. For example, we have a great free health-care. We also have a strong economy which shields us from the chaos in the states right now.

    Go Mr. Ayers!!

  9. Normann says:

    Well I think that mr.KHN would agree and suport me when I invite you, Mr. Ayers, to come and live in norway. Free health care, free schooling from the age og 6-16, free dental care until ones 22 birthday and mutch more. And the best part, if anyone gets in fanancial difficulties, the goverment is bound by law to help you, they are bound by law to give you anything you need to live a comfortable life. The goverment in norway is here for us, instead of the people serving the state. And thru clever politics and diplomatic talks, we are the ONLY country in NATO that still has a frendly relations whit russia, still has cooporation militarily and econmicly. Unlike te Bush Admin. We try to aim before we shoot, thus avoiding shooting usselves in the foot… We wish the US the best of luck whit you finances, and hope so mutch for the sake of the world that you don’t elect yet another war-mongerer into the white house, I don’t think you country can cope whit yet more nations hating you… And yet again mr. Ayers, you sound like a inteligent man, so your more than welcomed to the kingdom of norway;)

    Your trouly.
    Ola Normann.

  10. Angela says:

    Yes, Mr Ayers, by all means head to Norway. Let us freedom loving Americans retain our freedoms. Forcing others to provide for me is just unthinkable., and certainly nothing to brag about.

    But I’ll bet you won’t go for that. Well then, high rent, high gas, high alcoholism…Oslo is one of the world’s most expensive cities to live in……No thanks.

    All the likeable Norwegians moved to Minnesota a long time ago, anyway.

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