Monday, September 22, 2008

Economic Collapse and the Proposed Bail-Out

Wondering about the ongoing economic collapse in the U.S.? Not sure what to make of the proposed massive, trillion dollar bailout? Here are a few good resources from progressive points of view:

- Here is a great overview of how we got into this mess...

- Economist Robert Kuttner suggests that New Deal-style action is necessary to avert a full-scale Depression-sized economic meltdown in the U.S., but he is no fan of Sec. Paulson's proposal, which he thinks is a handout to Wall Street fat-cats.

- Similarly, economist and NYTimes opinion page regular, Paul Krugman, who called the collapse last Wednesday, "the worst thing I've ever seen," argues that the meltdown is the result of several decades of an unrestrained free-market capitalism, essentially the failure of conservative economic policy. He believes that this crisis could be as bad as 1931 - total collapse of the system - if bold action is not taken. But, Krugman thinks we need to think it through before acting. And, like Kuttner, he is not sold on Paulson's plan. In fact, in today's column he called Paulson's plan, "cash for trash." Ouch.

- At Truthout.org,, conomics journalist William Greider, never one to pull punches, calls Paulson's plan a 'historic swindle" Richard Behan agrees, suggesting that the bailout plan is simply "one more weapon of mass deception." Jack Balkin completes the trio of dissent.

- John Nichols, over at The Nation, shows how the insurance industry is attempting to capitalize on this disaster to LOOSEN REGULATIONS further!

- Josh Holland nicely explains why our economic system is on the verge of total collapse.

- Mark Sumner discusses the way John McCain and other deregulators are on the hook for this economic meltdown.

- Robert Borosage suggests the need for a "citizens' plan" to address the financial collapse. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont agrees.

- Activist/economic critic, Naomi Klein, sees the financial crisis as another part of the Bush Administration's use of the "shock doctrine." She also suggests this is a good time to argue for more cooperative economic policies.

- Chris Hedges doesn't like what he is seeing, either: "The lobbyists and corporate lawyers, the heads of financial firms and the crooks who control Wall Street, all those who spent the last three decades assuring us that government was part of the problem and should get out of the way, are now busy looting the U.S. treasury."

- Paul Rosenberge suggests we need to get at "root problems" in solving this crisis.

- Here is Amy Goodman, of Democracy Now!, criticizing "Wall Street Socialists."

- Chuck Collins suggests we "tax the speculators" as a fair way to bail out of this mess.

- And here and here, writers try to explain how unrestrained free-market ideology is to blame for this debacle. Similarly, over at the Financial TImes, David Blake argues that this crisis is "Greenspan's sins return to haunt us." And, hell, even the Europeans, Left and Right, are mocking the U.S. financial flame-out. And Chinese officials have called for a new global economic order after the American "economic tsunami."

- For good measure, this post features a whole slew of economists, from the Right to the Left, who think the Paulson plan is bad news.

- And, yesterday, Obama himself critiqued the Paulson plan, stating that there should be "no blank check" for Wall Street without help for Main Street. He went on to outline his own 7-point plan.

- Jacob Weisberg likes Obama's economic plans, but thinks he needs to do a better job selling it by coming up with a memorable slogan.

For myself, I'll simply add this: Why is it that the government can find $3 trillion to fight unpopular, illegal wars abroad, or $1 trillion to bail out failed, greedy and corrupt Wall Street fat cats, but it can never seem to find the billions necessary to provide all citizens with adequate health care, or all children with excellent public schools, all help homeowners who were the victims of sleazy, greedy financial schemes?

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