Thursday, October 2, 2008

'Sweeteners' to benefit the affluent help move bailout through Senate

Some quick things about the Senate passing the bailout bill:
First, the sweeteners seem almost all geared towards the most affluent in our society. Raising the limit of FDIC from $100k to $250k. Guess who benefits from that? Certainly not the majority of Americans who don't have anywhere near $100k in the passbook savings accounts, never mind $250k.
The reevaluation of balance sheets? Oh yeah, that helps Main Street.
The extension of several business tax breaks. Umm, when are we going to get to the folks losing their homes again?
Revision of the AMT. OK, that will help some folks.
Mental health parity changes? What does that have to do with the housing crisis?
And, the worst part? No buy-in from Wall Street. No 0.25 percent transaction tax to get investors to pay for the mess they created or to stop flipping things around as frequently, which would create stability in the market and long-term investing, which is what Wall Street should be about. No wealth or windfall profits tax to take back some of the money these people reaped [or raped] from us. No millionaire's surcharge tax. Nothing to get them to pay for their mess.
Second, look at some of the No votes: Populist Democrats like Byron Dorgan and Russ Feingold, and Socialist Bernie Sanders, voting with Republicans Sam Brownback, Elizabeth Dole, and Richard Shelby. Just like the House. A very good sign that some coalitions are being built.
So, again, this is a total ripoff, made worse in some ways by these changes. Without a transaction tax - at the bare minimum - to get Wall Street to repay us for bailing them out, nothing should be done. Let it all fall. It isn't enough to say the economy is on the brink. For more folks, the economy has been on the brink for a very long time. All allowing the stock market to fall will do is put the investor class at parity with the working class. It's a small price to pay to go through a bit of pain.

No comments: