…by Meg White
The place Meg puts the stuff she wrote
Bailing Out Wall Street: Another Front in the GOP Economic War Against American Working Families
Categories: Commentary, Economy

by Meg White

Republicans like to paint themselves as champions of the free market, but only when it makes them money.

After years of bad investments and wild spending, the government is asking Congress to give $700 billion of our tax money to a former CEO of Goldman Sachs for him to spend however he wishes with no oversight or legal accountability. And this is after taxpayer money was granted to save the hides of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as AIG.

The money, which works out to more than $2,000 per American according to WashingtonWatch.com, will be used to secure failing investments on Wall Street, but it’s clear that this is a boondoggle. Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) can see that.

These bailouts are part of the ongoing GOP economic war on working Americans. Republicans are working to redistribute wealth from working people to CEOs and investors. Taxpayers are being forced to take on risk and debt from the people who justify their huge profits and salaries by claiming they take on such huge risks and debt.

Or, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) put it in a public statement about his proposal for holding those to be bailed out accountable:

“The Bush administration, six weeks before an election, wants the middle class of this country to spend many hundreds of billions on a bailout.  The wealthiest people, who have benefited from Bush’s policies and are in the best position to pay, are being asked for no sacrifice at all. This is absurd.  This is the most extreme example that I can recall of socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor.”

While some are telling it like it is, most Republicans are doing everything in their power to distract the American people from the man behind the curtain. The GOP strategy to mask the war on working families has recently relied on two particularly effective weapons in their arsenal of obfuscation.

First, the embrace of tax cuts is an attempt to distract the American people. The government puts a few hundred dollars in one pocket, while taking thousands out of the other. The Bush tax cuts were a clear example of this; in fact, this strategy has been working quite well for Republicans since at least the Reagan Administration.

McCain’s lies about the difference between his tax plan and Obama’s is merely the latest episode of this tired story. The nonpartisan FactCheck.org has three pages devoted solely to debunking McCain’s “bad pattern” of lies about taxes this election season. The truth is, Obama will cut more taxes for working Americans than McCain. But that’s just a smokescreen for the larger issue.

Another way that the GOP tries to blind Americans to this “socialism for us, free market for you” economic plan is by scaring the daylights out of everyone.  Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson warned that the financial system will collapse if Congress doesn’t hand over taxpayer money as soon as possible. While we hope lawmakers won’t fall for this, it’s clear many on Wall Street don’t believe the hyperbole.

This scare tactic is part of a larger scheme author Naomi Klein calls “disaster capitalism.” On Bill Maher’s HBO show “Real Time” this past weekend, Klein explained how the GOP passed the debt and risk onto the American people and how the talk of financial calamity will allow them to push more of the same in the future.

“The disaster is far from over. They have actually just relocated the disaster. The disaster was on Wall Street, and they moved the disaster to Main Street,” Klein said. She added that if McCain wins the presidency, this financial mess we’re in will give him the perfect excuse to privatize Social Security, cut aid programs, and ramp up deregulation. “You need a disaster to rationalize pushing through these very unpopular policies. So the real disaster has yet to come. The real disaster is the debt that’s going to explode on the American taxpayers.  And then they do economic shock therapy.”

Some estimates of the cost of solving this financial problem reach $1 trillion or more. But hey, $1 trillion isn’t that much, really. Hell, the Pentagon lost that much in their couch cushions.


Originally published at BuzzFlash.com.

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