What are we actually bailing out anymore?

The bailout has turned into the bailouts. It is curious that the industrialists, venture capitalists and governments who once crowed so much about how well the market could look after itself, now suddenly feel that so much state support is necessary. Whatever happened to the magical self-regulating mechanisms of the market?  The US government has moved past general financial ‘stimulus packages’ for the banks, it is now working its way through a collapsing manufacturing industry; the auto industry, which is in free-fall, has more or less managed to convince the government to fill up its begging bowl with other people’s money to keep it afloat. These people in their tailored suits and with large personal salaries are the kind of people who uphold an American mantra of not stealing other people’s hard-earned tax dollars, yet this is exactly what they are doing under the threat that cars won’t be made in America if the government doesn’t stump up taxpayers’ cash. Only now has the government pulled out its “criticisms” of the big three auto giants: how they persistently refuse to manufacture smaller, fuel-efficient cars. They of course, will mumble through their lips like guilty schoolboys until the free cheque is in the post.

All industries are now falling. The publisher of the Chicago Tribune has already filed for bankruptcy as a protection move. This will allow it’s owner Sam Zell (property billionaire, owner of the Chicago Cubs  and their Wrigley Field stadium, and a tv operation) to carry on trading even though his creditors are chasing him for over $12 billion.

What needs to be understood here is that this is not the much-vaunted ‘free-market’ in operation, it is an operation of reckless financiers, industrialists and greedy entepreneurs protected by governments, bailouts and bankruptcy laws. It is not a new phenomenon, governments around the world from the US and Europe to China all assist big business as much as possible with constant funding and tax assistance. The laws of market economics are what these pirates bleat on about when the economy is riding high: chiefly along the lines of complaining that the government shouldn’t be taking so much tax (even though the majority of the tax gap is clearly a result of big business under-reporting), and how it should refrain from spending. How things have changed! Now, with the collapse of these moguls’ fortunes on the horizon,  government can’t spend fast enough. And so the ‘packages’ of money keep coming, billions of it, even though the same governments have been claiming for years that there is no money for health or schools or neighbourhood improvements, or to send people for higher education and training. And the indications are that it will be much the same under the “left-wing” change president Barack Obama.

Perhaps it is that people are so tired, worn down by years of worry over war;  job, health and social security; clampdowns on freedoms, that the revolts have not kicked in. Either that, or people have bought all the guff squawked out of televisions and written in the papers for months on end: that the core of the system is essentially sound, just badly rocked.

I hope it is the former, I hope people are just tired. Even tired people can summon up energy reserves, but hoodwinked people are just finished.


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