Look here, Mr. Hoover, it's see what you done
You went off a-fishin', let the country go to ruin.
Now he's gone, I'm glad he's gone.
--White House Blues (1932)
The banking behemoth Citigroup lost billions this last quarter. . .despite $45 billion in bailout monies. The $700 billion TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program") is looking like it's a day late and a dollar short.
- Why are we here? Where are we going?
- It's time that we found out
- We're not here to stay;
- we're on a short holiday
- --Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries,
- Brown/Henderson (1931)
- Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell,
- Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum,
- Half a million boots went slogging through Hell,
- And I was the kid with the drum!
- --Brother, can You Spare a Dime?,
- Harburg/Gorney (1931)
Throwing good money after bad is how they used to say it. People who had been through The Great Depression coined all kinds of quaint monetary phrases to help keep one's financial house neat -- "penny wise, pound foolish, "A stitch in time saves nine," "A penny saved is a penny earned." It amounts being thrifty, but not miserly. They could form the nucleus of a good introductory finance course for college business students.
If change is what we are after, why not implement the economic stimulus in reverse? Give the money to the lower echelons of the societal food chain. We know they would spend the money on consumer goods, and not try to buy banks with it.
Instead, we are giving 100's of billions to the wealthy and it is not trickling down. Why not try a "trickle-up"? Senator Tom Harkin (IA) sees the only solution to the economic crisis as getting Americans back to work and insured. He doubts that, "If we just put it in at the top, it’s going to trickle down.” As coulumnist Bob Herbert wrote, "Been there. Done that. Didn’t work" (Obama's Biggest Challenge.)
However, the highly entitled top of the economic food chain will not allow anything but the old paradigm. Sorry Mr. Bentham, but we are not a nation of the greatest good for the greatest number, though it makes us feel righteous to think so. We are a nation that shovels $100's of billions to the very banks and corporations that cause the problems, thus passing for a solution in the "greatest democracy" in the world.
NYT Economist Paul Krugman says pshaw to talk of "jump-starting" the economy via business and payroll tax cuts. Reviving the economy will be long-haul business.
"Money not squandered on ineffective tax cuts could be used to provide further relief to Americans in distress — enhanced unemployment benefits, expanded Medicaid and more. And why not get an early start on the insurance subsidies — probably running at $100 billion or more per year — that will be essential if we’re going to achieve universal health care? (Ideas for Obama.)"
Krugman quotes a report released by Obama's future head of the Council of Economic Advisers and the vice president’s chief economist who wrote, “a dollar of infrastructure spending is more effective in creating jobs than a dollar of tax cuts.”
Democracy in America is a Wall Street orchestrated Ponzi scheme.