The economy is stupid

After Labor Day, work picked up at my office, so I haven’t had a chance to blog as much as I’ve wanted to. I have been keeping notes, however, on a ragged piece of paper I carry around in my backpack. I have notes on Sarah Palin, the importance of unstructured play, and my thoughts on Obama’s health plan.

I even had some notes on taxes and the economy.

Hmm. Looks like those won’t be much use to me now. What with the Treasury Department asking for trillions of dollars and offering only their “word” that they won’t blow it all on girls and coke.

To some people, it must seem that the folding of the big investment banks and the resulting bail-out have nothing to do with them. Most people don’t have major investments or stocks or a big CEO nameplate on their desk. But if Reagan’s trickle-down economy delusion had any truth to it, we’ll all soon be seeing even thinner wallets. The big guys’ credit crunch will impact the slightly smaller banks that loan to the retail industries that employ most of America, as well as the little banks that loan money to regular people for cars, small businesses, repairs and houses. Lack of credit means us working people won’t be able to make up the difference between what we need to spend and what we can spend.

With wages being stagnant for much longer than they should have been, most Americans have been relying on credit to get them through. And the U.S. economy has relied on every American, rich and poor, to spend money they don’t have. Without credit, that consumer life jacket disappears.

It irks me (in polite terms) that Republicans/fiscal conservatives/whatever-they-are-calling-themselves-these-days believe that a free market, with less government intervention and regulation will somehow work better.

Work better for who?

Corporations are only beholden to their stockholders. No one else. At all. Not their local communities, not voters, not citizens, not their workers. They have a bottom line and a profit margin, neither of which take into account the value of a life well-lived. You know, one with quality childcare, quality senior care, affordable health insurance, family leave, quality education, civic services that provide water, roads, electricity and other “amenities,” such as buildings for churches, hospitals and schools.

There must be some Libertarian or Republican out there who can give me a good argument for why government is “bad.” From where I stand—merely a citizen, not a stockholder—I’d rather have a democratic government run my country. Because, at least in theory, I have a say in a government that’s for the people and by the people. I can’t hold corporations accountable, but I can vote, run for office, start petitions, volunteer or do as my husband does and spread the word of “good government” on the internet.

Us taxpayers are going to bail out these companies, it seems, with hard-earned money we can’t spare. But hopefully Congress will have the common sense not to bail out CEO salaries and to give a little money back to the homeowners who also need assistance. And, if they’re really smart, they’ll throw in a government organization that will hold corporations—and their lobbyist-loving cronies—accountable for this welfare handout their getting.

Then, after Congress has created 11.3 trillion dollars in debt, maybe they can think about ways to invest in the people who will—or will not—be voting for them.

Yes, I’ll take a hand-out. Write my check out to universal health care, please.


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