What $700 billion could buy

The Progressive
by Ruth Conniff


There is no doubt that the Bush Administration’s massive $700 billion bailout plan for Wall Street will pass, in some form, in the coming days. Whether or not Congress succeeds in adding pay caps for the executives of floundering investment firms, or help for homeowners to avoid foreclosure, and regardless of the outcome of the FBI fraud investigations of some of the very firms lined up at the trough, it is clear that American taxpayers will ultimately shell out close to a trillion dollars to the speculators who drove the economy to the brink. It is breathtaking how the Bush Administration has turned a national budget surplus into a massive deficit, and squandered over a trillion dollars on the disastrous war in Iraq. But now, overnight, the same incompetent people in the White House, with the help of members of Congress who pushed for deregulation on Wall Street, are poised to commit nearly as much money to the bank bailout as they have already wasted on the war...


Bailout plan is like pushing on a string

Heartland Institute
by Jim Johnston


Will the bailout work? The one-word answer is NO. The more complete answer is that banks, once burned, will be twice shy in making new loans. A lot of lending will not take place. That, in turn will cripple the economy. The bailout will surely exceed $1 trillion and attach a permanent string on the money in the taxpayers pocketbooks, on which the government will frequently pull...


The insanity of the $700 Billion giveaway

by Michael Hudson


The banksters’ plan now is for icing on the cake – to take Mr. Paulson’s $700 billion and run. It’s not a “bailout of the financial system.” It’s as giveaway – to insiders, to sell out all their bad bets. Companies across the board will get rid of their bad mortgages, and also their bad car loans, furniture time payments, credit-card loans, student loans – all the debts that any competent actuary could have told them never could have been paid in the first place...


Dr. Frankenstein’s bubble: Made in Washington

Classically Liberal
by CLS


Now a libertarian might say that tax relief is not a bad thing. But there is tax relief that can create problems. When you have a tax on all capital gains but one specific kind then tax relief linked to one investment alone it will distort investment patterns. The tax policy, in essence, lowers the return on all investment save the favored one. Thus more capital flows into the favored investment than into the others. The natural market is distorted. Some areas lack the investment they ought to have under natural returns and the favored area receives more investment than it would if on an equal playing field. When one sector of the economy has too much investment the rate of return in that sector will eventually fall. Over investment drives down profits in that sector while pushing up profits in the underinvested sectors. Housing was over built and with each new house the pressure was increasing. The bubble had to burst. What Secretary Paulson is doing is trying to artificially pump up the bubble — the very sort of policy which caused the problem in the first place.


Bush to purchase fiddle

Unqualified Offerings
by Thoreau


I don’t like to credit this gang with being a bunch of masterminds, but, well, they came in at a time of peace and prosperity, gutted the whatever remained of institutions that might have checked them, funneled a trillion dollars into a disastrous war, and now on the way out they’re demanding $700 billion from us while the foreigners announce that the lending is at an end. If one were going to deliberately loot a country until it’s ruined, this is exactly what it would look like...


Bailout bums

by David Weigel


To understand how Washington, D.C.’s fiscally conservative and libertarian-leaning Republicans are handling Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s proposed $700 billion bailout of the financial services sector, think of a child who’s just learned that there is no Easter Bunny. Better yet, think of a guy who sunk his portfolio into Lehman Brothers or Bear Sterns and watched everything he was taught to believe about his investments declared moot, wrong, meaningless, at the mercy of the state. The bailout ‘does ensure that President Bush will have a legacy,’ laughed Fred Smith, the president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a staunchly pro-free markets group, on Wednesday. ‘It’s a legacy that will discredit every economic concept that we have on the right. It will set back the concept of economic liberty by a century.’ Openly or secretly, a lot of Smith’s fellow travelers in the Beltway agree...


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp



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