Thursday, March 26, 2009

Don't Salvage, Nationalize!

The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of this crisis is that it exposes for all to see the moral faultlines of the capitalist way of life. This is not the time to rescue the wage-slave system, along with its banks and stock and commodities exchanges, as the latest Geithner/Paulsen plan to aid banks proposes, but to strip out the ill-gotten, wastefully spent gains.

Don't rescue the banks, nationalize them. Don't shore up Wall Street, close it once and for all. These are no more than the casinos of and for the rich, who essentially play with our hard-earned money.

You think banks are merely safe places to put money at a tidy return? You wish! Banks are constantly gambling that enough people will keep their money in so they can lend out most of what they've got -- if everybody withdraws at once, banks fail. Moreover, compare the interest rate you can get paid with the rate you're likely to be charged to borrow.

You think stock exchanges are merely places where the "invisible hand" of the quasi-divine "market" arrives at fair values for a whole range of assets? That textbook description has never taken into account the speculation, almost entirely divorced from the actual workings of businesses, that actually fuels upward runs by "bulls" and downward falls by "bears."

When their gambles prove wrong, who loses the jobs and the homes? Not the top 20 percent of assetholders, who own 80 percent of all assets in the United States. So let's seize the moment to make this land our land, as Woody Guthrie sang, from California to New York Island. "This land was made for you and me ..."
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