Why not tie this bailout to something like the second stimulus package of enhanced food stamps, extended unemployment insurance, and enhanced aid to state governments straining under the yoke of Medicaid payments?
It’d be absurd for the government to be moving hundreds of billions of dollars around amidst an economic crisis while doing nothing for, say, janitors who get laid off from Lehman Brothers. The problems to worry about here are in the “real” economy. Propping up the financial sector can help accomplish that, but we also need to prop up normal people trying to pay the bills and weather the storm.
Yeah. I love Matt for trying. I wish I had thought to suggest it first with a straight face and I'm ashamed that I didn't. But, in my defense, that idea won't happen in a million billion years, which is probably why my brain killed the thought before it could escape my idealistic subconscious. This is what will happen:
All those hundreds of billions will be moved to protect and defend the ruling class. When it comes time to pass an economic recovery package (this is that time, by the way but it's being used up with the bailout) and the appropriation bills that fund the sort of programs that Matt is talking about, we will be lectured by the GOP and their miserable Blue Dog minions about fiscal responsibility as if we are frackin' idiot children who can't balance our own checkbooks much less a great big federal budget. They will shake their heads and wish that we could afford everything, really they do, but hard choices have to be made.
People like me will beg people to take action - send an email - call your Congressperson - march in the street - show up at campaign events in great numbers and badger those sons of bitches on this point until they give in. I'll be bitterly disappointed because not enough people will do what it takes and this radical reallocation of resources will continue unabated and those janitors that Matt talks about and their kids - and you and your kids - will continue to be casualties of a class war that just opened up another front.
On the bright side, there is no bright side but I did find a funny comment from that Yglesias post, so, you know, that's something:
It’s like Wall Street is playing D&D and the Dungeon Master is named Reality.
Financial Wizards: I cast my greed spell. It should do + 1 billion damage.
Reality: There is a strange force at work called rational asset pricing. Your spell has the reverse effect! Minus 1 billion damage! How many hit points do you have again?
Financial Wizards: Ummmm…not a billion.
Reality: That’s alright. I’ll just give you additional hit points that I steal from the future of your children.
Financial Wizards: Cool! Can I try that spell again?
Reality: Of course but you’ll have to wait a few turns. The amount of future you can steal is finite but it renews itself every generation.