Saturday, March 21, 2009

A modest proposal

I've been writing a bit about The Great American Swindle for a while, and I suspect that most folks who read what I have to say get the distinct - and entirely accurate - impression that I am quite angered. Surely I'm not alone in terms of anger, as plenty of relatively level-headed economist wonks (all of whom would be considered quite mainstream) are appalled by the plans that have been unleashed to allow Wall Street conglomerates to roll the dice a few more times at the proverbial casino craps table. Clusterstock summarizes the views of such folks as Krugman, Calculated Risk, and Yves Smith - each of whom is quite critical of the latest Geithner boondoggle. James K. Galbraith is also quite sour; so much so that we could simply boil his essay down to a single simple sentence - "we're fucked." There is currently some speculation - still strictly at the rumor level right now - that Geithner is on the way out, after a very short tenure within the Obama regime. And of course as one might expect during an economic collapse, members of the investor class begin sniping at one another.

Why mention all of this? As I said before I am angry, but I am now realizing that my anger, while justified, has been misdirected. I am now understanding that the geniuses on Wall Street and their puppets in the White House have intentionally been aiming for boondoggle of historic proportions. The problem is that they have not gone far enough. The hope initially was to hoodwink a sufficient proportion of the public into believing that the economic fantasy land of the 1990s and first few years of this decade could be revived. The trouble is that a critical mass refuses to believe a word that these crooks say. So now we have money committed, and more expected to be committed to a comatose economy. They might as well burn the money, I thought. Then it hit me - that's it! Burn the money. What Wall Street and its flunkies in the White House and Capitol Hill have failed to realize since last fall is that what they are doing in the end amounts to burning the money, but is far less efficient than literally torching all those greenbacks. So, why not simply take all of those countless billions of dollars, print them out, pile them up on the White House lawn (or The Mall, or right in Wall Street itself), and have a bonfire. Obama can give one of his moving speeches about hope and unity, and Geithner could do the honors of setting alight all that money as the television cameras roll. Perhaps in a show of bipartisanship, both Geithner and Paulson could share the honors. Hell, if the nation is pretty much bankrupt any way, might as well have one hell of a party.

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