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I have no idea why the Democrats aren't attacking Bush continually over the state of the economy and the US Dollar. The two reasons that come to mind are that they're either utterly incompetent or disgustingly pusillanimous. Neither's a good option.

Really, I don't know why there's no liberal party in this country that's not afraid to start pushing the slogan that there are now two types of people associated with the Republican Party: millionaires and suckers. In fact, I'd even say that the Republicans have swerved so far from the "limited government" idea that traditional conservatives espouse that it's hard to classify the party anymore. Let's take a look at a few numbers.

The war in Iraq has already cost $500 billion. Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Blimes have estimated that the Iraq war will eventually cost $3 trillion. I believe this is one of three things that will eventually cause another Great Depression-scale period for this country. The $500 bil that's already been spent is absorbable, barely- though I think it would've been far better spent on darn near anything else, whether it was investing in alternative energy infrastructure(I also am amazed by Bush's ineptitude regarding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) and research or paying down the other $9 trillion of national debt.

The Dems should also be hammering on the Republicans on the Bear Stearns bailout. Having the Fed guarantee $30 billion of Bear Stearns' assets...well, this is, to put it bluntly, corporate welfare. Heads JP Morgan Chase wins. Tails the American taxpayer loses, to the tune of about $100 each. $30 billion is a fuckton of money. By comparison, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families(TANF)- what's commonly known as welfare- costs about $16.5 billion a year. The next time any "compassionate conservative" opens his or her piehole about welfare, they should be hammered with the Bear Stearns bailout. The Republican management believes that the free market is the best allocator of resources...until it's their own that takes it in the nuts.

Bear Stearns is only the beginning, of course. I'm not exactly impressed by what I've been hearing about the Lehman Brothers' portfolio, for example. By the time the smoke clears, I expect at least one and possibly as many as three major investment banks requiring federal intervention. The taxpayer, of course, will foot the bill. If I didn't think massive inflation was going to be an issue and if I had more of a bankroll, I'd seriously consider buying puts.

The Republicans wanted deregulation. They got it. And now the subprime debacle is giving them all the deregulated market they want. The next time deregulation comes up, the Democrats need to bring up the subprime meltdown.

Finally...the tax cuts. The class warfare nature of the tax cuts has been discussed in tons of outlets. I've also mentioned how Bush departed from the usual taxation pattern during wartime. But given that our Idiot-in-Chief wants to make his cuts permanent...that'll hit us for another $1 trillion a year over the next decade. What slight chance we'd have of avoiding the complete collapse of the USD would be gone. The Democrats should be emphasizing this every time tax cuts are mentioned.

Why can't we have a _real_ liberal party in this country, not these cowardly, idiotic Democrats?

Date: 2008-04-14 12:39 pm (UTC)
feuervogel: (godless liberal etc)
From: [personal profile] feuervogel
Because Really, I don't know why there's no liberal party in this country. doesn't need the rest of the sentence behind it. There is no liberal party in the United States.

And I'm not saying that because I'm a leftist. The "liberals" in the US are centrist or slightly rightist compared to political parties in Europe.

Date: 2008-04-14 03:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dolohov.livejournal.com
There hasn't been much complaint about the Bear Stearns bailout because it was fundamentally a good idea. It went down because BS was otherwise going to default on their overnight loans (don't get me started on that practice) -- having a major investment bank go under with almost no warning would be Very Bad for the economy. If that had turned into a wide-scale equivalent of a bank run, we'd have lost savings, pension funds, the works.

But the bailout only works if investors are convinced that the Fed would do it again in the case of another overnight failure. The entire system works on trust, and as soon as trust goes away, people pull their money and we get serious problems. If we get presidential candidates saying, "Screw that, that's not the Fed's job" we risk exactly what it was trying to avoid.

I'm still waiting to see whether I *really* consider it corporate welfare, considering the stockholders got screwed. I'm want to see whether the idiots at the top of the company actually get held accountable -- which I think would also be very good for the economy, to know that people who take stupid risks pay for them.

I am not really a fan of financial market regulation. Not because it's not a good idea (they could certainly use some rules!) but because I think that it's not really a workable proposition. You'd either wind up with an agency that moves far too slowly to be effective, or a revolving door between financial institutions and the regulatory body that would enable it to work quickly... but paralyze it the minute it had to make tough decisions.

Personally, I think it would be far better to institute a bailout fund. Force financial institutions like Bear Stearns to pay into a fund that would then be used to bail them out if they fuck up. It wouldn't be insurance, exactly (insurance companies are notorious for stalling just when quick action is needed) more of a safety net. In exchange for paying into this fund, they could be given a freer hand to act as they see fit.

Now, that should have been coupled with low-income assistance, that's for damned sure. And it looks like they may well have been shamed into acting.

But before going off on the "subprime debacle" let's not forget that there is *plenty* of blame to go around. The fundamental problem was that people were getting loans that they just could not pay back, either because they didn't have the income, lost the income, or didn't understand that the monthly rate would change as interest rates changed. For everyone who lost a home because their lost their job or had a major medical problem, there seem to be dozens who were simply living beyond their means or just fundamentally did not understand how mortgages work. The banks can take the blame this time: they were greedy a hell and put in a position where they weren't held accountable. But this sort of thing is going to happen over and over again so long as the America population remains this woefully ignorant about how finances and the banking system work. I've been privately convinced that the next big crisis will be a credit card meltdown: but who do we blame then? I'm still waiting for a presidential candidate to start saying that Americans need to be better educated about money, but with people piling on Obama for being "elitist" that's not going to happen. (Gee, a Yale law graduate and senator is an elitist? Color me surprised. But hey, the last guy was pretty down-to-earth and anti-elitist. How'd that work out?)

Now, Bush's tax cuts? They're just stupid. Opposing them isn't liberal or conservative, it's just the responsible thing to do.

Date: 2008-04-14 04:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theotherjay.livejournal.com
The problem is, if we changed the system so as to allow for more parties beyond the hegemonic two (campaign-finance rules that gave third-party candidates a greater advantage, &c.), you'd get a real liberal party, but you'd also get a real conservative one. For every Portlander who longs to vote for a Green party Senator, there's someone out there who thinks that the Constitution party would really be ideal, but they'll settle for the Republicans. America is, a few liberal enclaves notwithstanding, a very conservative country. Our democratic system of government doesn't fail by reflecting that, it succeeds. We don't need more political parties so much as we need a change in public attitudes.

Date: 2008-04-14 08:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] evwhore.livejournal.com
The suckers are, by and large, either happy to be suckers, or because they are suckers, don't realize they are suckers, and either way, telling them they're suckers only breeds defiant resentment. So as a strategy that seems kinda lacking :-)

Date: 2008-04-14 10:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dolohov.livejournal.com
Actually, his policy on the Strategic Oil Reserve seems to me to primarily be stubbornness over the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge: my guess is that he's going to make it basically unavailable so that Congress is pretty much forced to authorize drilling. That, or he's betting a whole lot of his fiscal legacy on northern-border fields like that Bakken Formation -- if that pans out the way some people are fervently hoping, it could seriously shake up politics in this country. It could also very well mean a disintegration of relations with Canada, which would be fun too. I would not be at all surprised to see McCain start talking about it in the next few months, after the USGS upped its estimate of recoverably oil by 25 times the previous amount.

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