Corporate Welfare

E.J. Dionne finally says it:

Never do I want to hear again from my conservative friends about how brilliant capitalists are, how much they deserve their seven-figure salaries and how government should keep its hands off the private economy.

The Wall Street titans have turned into a bunch of welfare clients. They are desperate to be bailed out by government from their own incompetence, and from the deregulatory regime for which they lobbied so hard. They have lost "confidence" in each other, you see, because none of these oh-so-wise captains of the universe have any idea what kinds of devalued securities sit in one another's portfolios.

So they have stopped investing. The biggest, most respected investment firms threaten to come crashing down. You can't have that. It's just fine to make it harder for the average Joe to file for bankruptcy, as did that wretched bankruptcy bill passed by Congress in 2005 at the request of the credit card industry. But the big guys are "too big to fail," because they could bring us all down with them.

Enter the federal government, the institution to which the wealthy are not supposed to pay capital gains or inheritance taxes. Good God, you don't expect these people to trade in their BMWs for Saturns, do you?

This is so overdue. We've essentially in the Bush era set up a kind of corporate Marxism, where risk is socialized, but where wealth is privatized. And the middle class, in this case homeowners, are the only ones who ever feel any pain.

Ben Bernanke believes that he can save the economy by managing and financing the ultimate downfall of these financial institutions. Which is fine to a point, because the alternative is a massive meltdown of the entire system. But let's call it exactly what it is. And let's no longer allow the other side to say things like "let the market make its own decisions," because they only believe that when they're not affected. This is a selective bailout, and it's government intervention into the markets to save them. Because they currently are non-functional and unregulated. It doesn't have to be this way, but under a laissez-faire system it's inevitable.

Can't wait for some Wall Street honcho or BushCo official to go on about welfare queens or big government programs...