Sunday, September 28, 2008

on more of the bailout

Saw Scott Pelley interview Sec. of the Treasury Paulsen on 60 Minutes tonight. It was almost enough for me to decide to abandon the whole idea of a bailout. Paulsen, former CEO of Goldman-Sacks who got into government after people began to see the future, was just a bit scary. Pelley did a much better job of pinning him down to specifics than he did McBush last week, but there were still some pretty hazy statements. I can understand that if we don't unlock the money flow between banks, the ability to pay bills and provide loans could become a crisis and is a crisis. What I don't understand is why we should reward the money men for getting us into this crisis in the first place. They know that in the daily operations of business companies and farmers borrow money to fund operations until the items produced begin to get paid for. The fear is that the collapse of the banking system will shut down those loans, shut down production and shut down jobs. But, maybe, giving it to Wall Street and the money world is not the best response. Maybe we should give it directly to the companies who need loans for operating capital on Main Street and by-pass the idiots on wall street, the gamblers in particular. In particular, I would like to know how Treasury came up with this plan and the costs, given all the uncertainties that Paulsen has. It smells like a dead Rainbow.

I have read one very good article calling for a return of the CCC, the Civilian Conservation Corps, of the 1930s to help rebuild our infrastructure. It would certainly provide jobs as it did then and with 700 Billion of infrastructure work we might be able to stop fires, build roads and bridges, fix up schools that spend maintenance money on textbooks and work on adequate medical facilities for all. It would also provide a culture of community service. A rather good idea and one I would support. (My dad was in the CCC and while he didn't talk about it a lot, he did seem to have some feeling for it.) The insurmountable problem with the bailout, as it was with the response to 9/11, the Iraq boondoggle, and the Iran nuclear conundrum is that this administration seems to be as in a rush to "cure" the financial collapse as it was to create Homeland Secuirty with the Patriot Act and that was bollixed up pretty badly, a result seen not only in the Katrina aftermath but in following the two big hurricanes this year. Maybe this fix is too quick and there's a more thoughtful answer out there.


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