Sep 30, 2008

This street is my street, this street is your street

Bipartisanship in America is the practice of taking complex problems and turning them into sound bites - preferably ones that create false divisions.

Take, for instance, the bailout package being contemplated by Congress. After rendering the debate of all the fat of thought and nuance, Republicans and Democrats came together to boil the problem down into a simple concept: Main Street versus Wall Street.

As regular Americans spit bile at the thought of rewarding Wall Street Fat Cats with a $700-billion check for robbing their own banks, the Wall Street fat cats are suffering a massive panic attack over Main Street's woeful misunderstanding of the dangers overleveraging and undercapitalization will have on an ever-tightening credit market.

The thing is Wall Street and Main Street are two sides of the same street. Regular Americans are watching the crisis unfold on flat-screen TVs purchased with credit cards, in homes purchased by mortgages, with cars in the driveway purchased by loans. Wall Street force-fed our credit addiction through easy terms meant to fluff up household bottom lines as the trickle down failed to create real wealth. In the process, WS got addicted to its own supply of magical derivative-based flimflam. Now we're all jonesing some liquid credit.

I can't say whether the bailout package that went down yesterday is the right answer. And I do subscribe to the old adage that the rich are different - they do have more money. Way, WAY more money. That has to change. But in the meantime, enough of this fake suburban populism. It only makes our politicians believe what they're saying.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You hit on the fundamental irony. Yes, this package helps Wall Street, but that's to serve the larger goal of not letting Main Street tank. Yet Main Streeters are too dense to realize this and have caused their lawmakers, quaking in their shoes at the thought of the negative ads that would appear on TV in short order, to vote no.