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Welfare for Wall Street

Sep 19, 2008



It was fun to watch all the free market junkies zooming the Dow up 400 points on news that the Gubmint was about to put together a bailout of the financial markets. It will be equally amusing, in a taste-of-bile sort of way, to hear all the reasons why this particular mega-deal is a good idea while similar assistance to individual home-owners is way to socialistic, you know.

At this point, the world seems to be dividing itself into two traditional camps. Camp One is made up of people who want the pain to end as quickly as possible. They like bailouts because, well, if you were in a sinking rowboat, wouldn't you bail? Most people would. What's the alternative? Pray? While prayer plus bailing is often enough to save the vessel, bailing-free prayer is less effective.

Camp Two is interesting. It consists, again, of two kinds of people, at least. In Camp Two A, you will find those who have a philosophical problem with Gubmint. They don't like it. They view any form of intervention as a violation of the precious free markets that are supposed to regulate themselves, in spite of ample evidence that they do not. In this group you will find the very rich who have money in a secure place and also a variety of people who aren't sure there really needs to be a Federal Gubmint at all. Sarah Palin's husband, for instance. The potential First Dude. He belonged to an organization that, as I understand it, entertained the idea of Alaska excusing itself from the Union. So there's that.

Camp Two B is comprised of folks who just want to see the whole thing crash and burn. The system stinks. Let it all go to hell. Membership in segment A and B are not mutually exclusive. You can belong to both, in other words.



When Marx was in full flower in the middle of the 20th Century, there were two types of comrades then, too. Members of Type One wanted to organize unions, pass legislation, elect fellow-travelers, and otherwise work in their own way to change the system in ways to their liking to improve the lives of the People. Type Two was made up of grim-faced doctrinaires who believed that before things could get better under the great new State, they had to get worse. So they opposed all efforts to improve working conditions, raise wages and otherwise make people's lives better in the short term. Fortunately for our side, both Types have now for the most part been relegated to the dust-bin of history. But the division between fixers and non-fixers is evocative, I think.

As for me, I'm for anything that will make the market go up 400 points in 90 minutes. Who knows. While they're putting on all these Band-Aids, the patient might just stop bleeding for a while. And even if he doesn't, we're might have a lot less blood on the carpets when it's all over. I think that would be nice.

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