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What is the goal of the bailout?

by rdf Thu Feb 5th, 2009 at 02:18:48 PM EST

I claim it is to save capitalism and the investor class that funds both political parties. One of the frequent comments these days is that FDR saved capitalism by creating various government structures to keep it from self destruction.  

So what are the two sides fighting about?



As far as I can tell it is whether the plutocracy should have to make any personal sacrifices while the economy is being re-inflated. Tax cuts for the better off are promoted. Deals to keep big firms from failing are deemed essential. Funding for the military and domestic policing (homeland security) is being increased. The war in Afghanistan is being ramped up. Traditional pork projects in civil engineering are being put forward. In other words same old, same old.

On the other "side" there is a bit of a movement to help those at the bottom of the pyramid through expanded social services. The plutocrats are afraid that these temporary measures will become permanent. The Schip debate highlights this. Once (legal) immigrant children were added to the program it is clear that they will never be removed in the future. They don't want to see more programs like this.

Proposals to fund part of expanded social programs by shifting wealth and income from the top are met with a barrage of cries of socialism and various pseudo-scientific studies showing that this will lead to the end of the American way of life. When one claim doesn't hold up another is put forward using the "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" mode of argument.

The American people want increased social services, they want better regulation of foods, drugs and other consumer items. They want better working conditions and the right to organize if they wish. They want income security through assured health and retirement benefits. They want better education and prospects for their children.

That their goals and those designing the "bailout" are different couldn't be more stark. Obama is being pushed into putting some symbolic populist measures into place as a way to forestall the public becoming more insistent on the goals I outlined. Limiting pay and perks is just one such misdirection.

For a long time the most popular essay on my web site had to do with immigration. Starting last October those dealing with wealth inequality have become the most read. The public mood has shifted and the plutocrats know it. Unfortunately they still control the levers of power and it seems that they will be able to forestall any fundamental shifts in the social structure.

Minimizing the pain for the unemployed is a pretty poor goal for the Dems to be satisfied with, but that seems to be all they aspire to.

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That's about it, in my view.

Just on a point of information:

The Schip debate highlights this.

Unless I'm mistaken, SCHIP means State Children's Health Insurance Program, that gives health insurance to children who would otherwise not have it through their parents' insurance (or lack thereof). But, as its name implies, it's not federal. I'm not up-to-date on this - how many states currently run a SCHIP?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Feb 6th, 2009 at 04:39:51 AM EST
SCHIP, a federal "entitlement" which extends "medicaid-like" benefits to any child whose HH income exceeds federal minimum qualification for Medicaid insurance enrollment. SCHIP regulations and rulemaking are administered by HHS.

Mr Obama signed a bill this week to increase the federal financing portion (FYE 2007 expiry) and to extend SCHIP eligibility to a larger HH income bracket. The bill rolled over after a veto by Mr Bush during the 110th Congress.

Federal portion of SCHIP financing will be funded by in increase of federal excise tax per cigarrette pack, from USD 0.61 (iirc) to USD 1.00.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Feb 6th, 2009 at 05:49:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, MT. I seem to remember there was a time when not all states implemented a SCHIP. But Wikipedia gives me the current situation on that:

State Children's Health Insurance Program - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

States are given flexibility in designing their SCHIP eligibility requirements and policies within broad federal guidelines. Some states have received authority through waivers of statutory provisions to use SCHIP funds to cover the parents of children receiving benefits from both SCHIP and Medicaid, pregnant women, and other adults. SCHIP covered 6.6 million children and 670,000 adults at some point during Federal fiscal year 2006, and every state has an approved plan.[5
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Feb 6th, 2009 at 07:35:27 AM EST
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Yep. And I wouldn't want to revive memories of the acrimony over obtaining passage of the bill in both chambers 2007. It was obscene.

Here's the PR on the signing ceremony, I read yesterday. I've not reviewed the actual language since 2007, when I was complaining about the weakness of the feds' funding mechanism, sales tax on just cigarettes, of all things to choose.

Obama signs children's healthcare bill | Reuters | 5 Feb 2009

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Feb 6th, 2009 at 09:14:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I claim it is to save capitalism and the investor class that funds both political parties.

That's about right. You capture the political power angle...and also, let's not forget that much of the investor class is, currently, wiped out on paper. Convert that to real loss of economic power, and not just they, but their future trust fund benificiaries, are denied the right to perpetuate, generation to generqtion, that power.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Feb 6th, 2009 at 06:09:19 AM EST
... and it seems that they will be able to forestall any fundamental shifts in the social structure.

Go back a year ago.  Look at the blogs, look at the MSM.  What was the status of the "Financial Crisis" then?  Not to make light of it but, The Fun Has Just Begun.  This little toboggan ride has only begun and is only BEGINNING to take up steam.  Do just a LINEAR extrapolation (God knows where you go with an exponential one) to a year, even 6 months from now.

What do you see?  Absolutely no fundamental shifts?

Let's watch.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Feb 6th, 2009 at 10:18:57 AM EST
The world is the Titanic.  Five minutes ago, the Titanic hit the iceberg.  A lot of people are still unaware of the collision. A lot of people felt something but are going on with their business as usual.  The Captain etc (i.e. the power elite) know of the collision and are just assessing the damage.  VERY FEW PEOPLE know the ship is sinking and NOTHING will save it.

That's where we are now.  Let the movie continue.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Feb 6th, 2009 at 10:54:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I claim the intent of the bailout is to end the American experiment.  The history of mankind has proven over the millenia that elite scumbag "leader" types have always been able to control their respective populations until that great American experiment.  With globalization now firmly installed energy re-allocation and or US depopulation now follows.  Your turn to be world police Europe.
by Lasthorseman on Fri Feb 6th, 2009 at 08:05:48 PM EST
One does wonder about the state of the American experiment.

However, you only have to look back 50 years to see a period when de jure racial discrimination was still common, when women knew their place, the government could enforce journalistic censorship, etc., etc.

We have regressed in some areas recently, but I'm not so sure that the current situation in any particular area is worse than it was in, say 1950.

Continuous forward progress in all areas might not always be possible, and we may suffer some retrograde motion at certain times...

What interests me is how we Westerners expect other cultures to jump from, say, 1300 to 1968 overnight--when we took 668 years to do the same thing. Isn't it true that women had to cover their heads and wear gloves to church in Italy and Spain even in the 1950s? But for a Turkish woman to wear a headcovering is for some reason not allowed...

by asdf on Fri Feb 6th, 2009 at 08:43:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that's overstating the number of centuries of difference. The median of Western(TM) society in 1800 would be a lot more familiar to someone from the median walk of life in Western(TM) society in 1300 than it would be to a person from the median walk of life in Western(TM) society today.

At most, we're talking two centuries. That's pretty daunting, but far cry from seven. In reality, I suspect that it's closer to a century and a half - just long enough for first- and second-hand experience of the old ways.

The Danish head rabbi (I think) was on the radio a couple of years ago. And his advice was: Consider the list of disagreements between different cultural groups. Try writing it up. Then strike from the list every item that is not absolutely and completely unacceptable to either group. His claim was that you would end up with a very small list, and that most of the symbolisms that get so much media play would not be on it.

I think it's an interesting exercise. It should probably be taken with a grain of salt, just as all such gedankenexperimenten should, but hopefully it can serve to put the proper perspective on matters.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Feb 7th, 2009 at 12:22:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"His claim was that you would end up with a very small list, and that most of the symbolisms that get so much media play would not be on it."

"Certain groups" perhaps USING issues for political domination?  Perish the thought.
http://www.scl.cc/home.php

by Lasthorseman on Sat Feb 7th, 2009 at 04:07:31 PM EST
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