Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An alternate take on the Bailout

...well, it's different...!

Pablo Ouziel in Online Journal:
If private institutions are requiring money from the taxpayer because their mismanagement is putting the whole economy under risk of collapse, then the bailout should be reframed and converted into the $700 billion bail. The taxpayer should demand that every CEO who requires money from the government be locked up and only released on a bail of $700 billion dollars. Otherwise it is just a blatant joke and an insult to the elementary functioning of a democratic society.

People are being urged by their government to approve legislation, which will ultimately allow the same people who created the mess, to have a blank check to play with the future of the American people. The same people, who until only a few weeks ago were certain that the fundamentals of the economy were solid, are now rushing to ask for funds. They either lied or they had no clue about what was happening. Either way, it would be wise to remove them from their posts before any decisions are made. Maybe Nouriel Rubini should be called up to become chairman of the Fed or treasury secretary, after all he has been one of the few voices making correct calls on events as they have unfolded. Surely, the American people deserve someone with a successful track record, making the calls on the future of their very fragile economy.

There seems to be in this society a rejection of simplicity. If it isn’t fancy enough, we want complicated mechanisms and complicated people telling us how things should be done. To a certain extent, I can understand how that can impress the simplest of minds, but at some point, when the complicated mechanisms and the complicated people have proved to be wrong, they must be removed from positions in which they can cause greater harm. Yet, simplicity always finds a hard sell when it comes to telling people what would seem like coherent first steps.

Here are a few steps which would convert the taxpayer bailout into bail for the prison sentence of irresponsible CEOs. This will at the very least guarantee the safety of the American people, and the restoration of their tarnished democratic ideal. Yes, I am in agreement with policy makers and financial analysts about the fact that legislation has to be approved fast, in order to avoid the complete meltdown of the economic system. However, if those responsible truly agree with this view, they should patriotically accept the demands of the taxpayer. The demands of the taxpayer, as manifestations against the bailout, should state the following preconditions to any agreement:

  1. Impeachment of George W. Bush for lying about the fundamentals of the economy.

  2. Ben Bernanke’s immediate removal from his post as chairman of the Board of Governors of the United States Federal Reserve for lying about the fundamentals of the economy.

  3. Henry Paulson’s immediate removal from his post as the United States Treasury Secretary and member of the International Monetary Fund Board of Governors for lying about the fundamentals of the economy.

  4. Immediate arrest of the CEO and CFO of any organization asking for funds from the taxpayer. Bail should be set at $700 billion. Once the markets have stabilized, trials can proceed to determine the guilt or innocence of individuals.

  5. Immediate return of bonuses by management teams in distressed institutions asking for taxpayer funds.

  6. Immediate cancellation of the mortgages of American families owning only one home.

These preconditions might sound harsh, but we are talking about a rushed document, which is the biggest bailout in the history of the world. The last rushed decision of this magnitude created the mess in Iraq. Hopefully, this time around the U.S. taxpayer, after having experienced the harsh consequences of rushed decisions, will be smarter. The difference this time around, is that instead of shooting Iraqis, the Americans are about to shoot themselves in the foot. I do feel for the majority of the American people, who frankly have no clue about what is happening to their cherished country, but apart from writing to them, there is nothing much one can do.

The blatant lies of their elites continue to destory the little crumbs that are still left of what was once the “Great American Dream” and has now become the “Great American Nightmare.” Faced with this scenario, setting bail at $700 billion seems completely reasonable to me.

Pablo Ouziel is a sociologist and freelance write based in Spain.

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