Sep 19, 2008

Socialism for capitalists

The calcified arteries of Wall Street are clogged with bad debt. Our government plans a $700-billion emergency bypass straight through our pocketbooks. Socialism for capitalists. We're told the sacrifice is needed to ensure our own healthy circulation.

Most of us, however, would prefer to let the patient die. He's a greedy, duplicitous, scoundrel. He refused every ounce of preventative medicine and now unashamedly mainlines taxpayer dollars.

Why keep him alive? Why perform miracle surgery on this pathetic form? Why can't we "decouple" ourselves from the excesses of Wall Street?

Because we're linked like Siamese twins. Our entire economy rides on a shock absorber of Wall Street credit. We've been able to ignore the bumps and now we're in the ditch.

For too long we've let Wall Street do the navigating for us. It told us we were in charge and then made all of the decisions. It shifted risk onto us and then collected most of the rewards. It made us believe that asking for more was a sign of weakness, an affront to the American ideal of self-reliance. It told us to cherish our small town ways and then went out and got involved with the world. It taught us that math no longer mattered if you had the right credit card and mortgage rates.

So, we're going to get jacked this time. But it's time to end the Great Bamboozle... time to stop being the rubes and start keep the other half in line.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to be a pedant, but what we have just witnessed is not socialism.

The proper definition of socialism is the state (public) control of the means of economic production.

The U.S. did not nationalize any doomed financial institution. Taxpayers did not gain any assets out of this. It's not as though we have a national insurance company or bank that will directly benefit the state.

The proper term for what happened is what fascist dictator Benito Mussolini called "corporatism."

Gary Scott said...

Pedants welcome.

Perhaps this is not socialism by the strictest definition - although the government (and by extension, taxpayers) will gain assets through the purchase of mortgage debt (up to $700 billion at any one time) that can then be resold on the market. Given that paper transactions are a new form of production in America, this counts to me as state control of economic production of credit. We are in effect nationalizing a portion of a securities market that is twice the size of the stock market.

At the same time, the term "socialism for capitalists" implies a type of socialism crafted by and for capitalists, which seems to meet the definition of "corporatism." Isn't that what the Fed is?

Anonymous said...

The hypocrisy of it all! It seems the gov't is only capitalist when the big corporations are doing great in business. Did we - the taxpayers - rip any of the benefits when these big corporations were making huge profits? Why are we, then, paying the penalty for their screw ups? Furthermore, we go around the world bragging about how much better we are because of capitalism and free market, yet these government bailouts contradict these "capitalist principles"...

Will Uncle Sam also come to the rescue when I can't make my mortgage or car payments?

Anonymous said...

Commenter #3, yes, it's hypocrisy.

But so what?

Capitalism rewards and nurtures sociopathic behavior. Hypocrisy is one of the virtues of a sociopath.

Let's look at you, me and all Americans. Why should we be allowed to feel outraged? When a rising tide lifted virtually all boats a decade ago, the same exact behavior was occurring. Americans were a lot happier, though, because the blood got on a lot more hands.

Sure, our modern-day robber barons completed the largest sacking of a nation in human history. They weren't deviating from type. They were just doing what was good for "the economy."

What about us, the Americans, the multitude? What do we do now?


There's nothing to do. Nothing we should do. Nothing we can do.

Revolution, or any alternative economic system, is pointless. Most Americans are unfit for surviving an economic debacle. The 21st century is offering humanity several falling dominoes: Peak Oil, Peak Food, Peak Population. One existential crisis threatens to wipe out a nation, but four ... let's just say it's a good bet to short-sell civilization.

Anonymous said...

"Revolution, or any alternative economic system, is pointless."

I beg to differ. Yes, it may seem that way, but no regime lasts forever and now, that we're getting hit hard in the pocket, I would say it's starting to look good and viable.