O the Irony!

March 14, 2008 at 7:47 pm (Free Market Capitalism)

welfare-state-72.jpg

In The Onion‘s “What Do You Think?” section a couple days ago, the question asked to the person on the street concerned the Federal Reserve’s annoucement that they would be setting up a $200 billion program to assist struggling banks. One of those surveyed responded: “Giving money to institutions that failed at their only job, which was to have money, may not be the best strategy.”

After a hearty chuckle, I was reminded of a section in Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine where she quoted (Ari’s brother) Michael Fleischer, who explained to Iraqi business owners whose livelihoods were in jeopardy due to the mass influx of foreign companies that “protected businesses never, never become competitive.” Klein adds:

“He appeared to be impervious to the irony that Halliburton, Bechtel, Parsons, KPMG, RTI, Blackwater and all the other U.S. corporations that were in Iraq to take advantage of the reconstruction were part of a vast protectionist racket whereby the U.S. government had created their markets with war, barred their competitors from ever entering the race, then paid them to do the work, while guaranteeing them a profit to boot — all at taxpayer expense.”

Who says the rich are against a welfare state?

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2 Comments

  1. Johnny T said,

    You fiend!

    I was going to post on this subject too — now it will look like I copied you again.

    It bites my butt! These financial institutions, like Bear Stearns, made a gazillion $ during the refi boom. Now that their decision to gamble is hurting them, the Feds (i.e. taxpayer) bails them out.

    The problem is sytematic — no one individual or company is responsible for the sub-prime problem. It is the system that is the problem. These financial instutions have a history of bad loans and bad practices, all in the pursuit of profit, that hurt the economy, hurt the average person, and make the shareholders and owners a ton of money in the meantime. Then when the crap hits the fan, the taxpayer bails them out. There a cycle to this — this isn’t the first time this has happened.

    I say we remember this when it comes time to rethink privatized banking. I think nationalized banking is a good idea.

  2. The Pundit said,

    And as the little illustration (and captions) points out, it’s not so bad to have the gov’t subsidize things, provided we admit that it is happening. But what upsets me is that when millions of taxpayer dollars go to Boeing, it is still held up as a model of free market success. But when we give a few food stamps to some black unwed mother, we lament the nanny state and encourage the poor to give up the teat for good ol’ fashioned hard work.

    You know, you could do a piece on this and link to me. I could use a little more traffic.

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