Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Republicans Are Coming! The Republicans Are Coming!

Faster than greased lightning, the Bush administration (lead by Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson -- when did Bush ever lead?) has come up with a $700 billion bailout package for Wall Street (and that is a very conservative estimate on the net cost; real cost is probably closer to two trillion or more).

What should strike any observer (and we the people have definitely been sidelined) are the contrasts.

1. Rapid reaction to the Wall Street collapse, despite Bush's insistence that ours be a responsible "ownership society".

2. Public funding to bailout private institutions.

Contrast that with the response to Hurricane Katrina -- thousands still living in trailers, a city still struggling.

Or take Social Security. Republicans (and a dismayingly large number of Democrats) have insisted that (A) Social Security faces failure and (B) the only solution is privatization of social security.

So in the case of Social Security:

1. Continuing government inaction, despite years of claims that there is a problem, and

2. Proposed private solution for a public institution. Bush and, most notably in this time before the election, John McCain have both argued that privatization of Social Security is the only solution. That is, placement of the management of our retirement in the hands of Lehman, Bear Stearns, AIG, Citigroup, etc.

The sheer hypocrisy of the privatization zealots will be seen when the continue to call for turning over Social Security to Wall Street.

There is another crisis to which the Bush administration did respond remarkably quickly -- they 9/11 attacks. Within days the Bush administration was calling for war on Iraq. We know how right they were about that — Weapons of Mass Destruction, Saddam Hussein tied to the attacks.... Sarah Palin, candidate for the vice presidency, claims — seven years down the road — that Saddam Hussein was tied to the attacks.

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