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Monday, October 20, 2008

That damned Bailout

What's Mallard raving about today?

The Bailout, Taxpayers.

There was a lot of disagreement about the form the bailout should take, general disgust/disbelief at the idiotic first suggestion by the Bush Administration, and lingering doubt about its final form.

Until today, however, I couldn't name anyone who believed we should do nothing. I couldn't name anyone who wanted to watch the financial system disintegrate.

Enter Mallard...


exanonymous said...

Taxpayers are economic idiots. It's a given. It requires some intense schooling to even look at the cause and effect of the market, and research to begin to understand it. The average taxpayer has selfish concerns: food, bills, clothing, gas, mortgages/rent. An economist understand long term impact and how price relief in the short term could equate to more expensive goods in the long term.

Our gas prices are an example. They are SO HIGH and we should DRILL DRILL DRILL, right? Except US prices are among the lowest in the world in pure dollar amount. Factor in cost of living, and they are the cheapest since the average American makes more than the average Russian or Nigerian.

But the average taxpayer is greedy. They want to hoard every cent possible that they do not see an obvious advantage to giving away. Explain to them that supply and demand isn't as simple as "more stuff, less cost" and they'll stare at you blankly.

Anonymous said...

"Explain to them that supply and demand isn't as simple as "more stuff, less cost" and they'll stare at you blankly."

Communist!!1! Why do you HATE AMERICA!!??! Drill Baby, Drill!

Plumber Joe/Palin 08!

12xuser said...

So, it was the TAXPAYERS who held up the bailout bill?

I don't think it's true that all taxpayers are economic idiots. After all, even Krugman is a taxpayer. However, anyone who defines themselves as a taxpayer, the way these tax-obsessed right-wingers do, is going to be a selfish greedy idiot.

I'm alternatively disgusted and amused by the ads I'm seeing for Republican candidates now. I mean, here we are in the worst financial crisis since the Depression, mired in two pointless wars, with no respect left in the international community, faced with looming environmental and energy crises, and what do their ads say? "That Democrat's gonna raise your taxes." That's all they've got.

The sad thing is that there is a significant percentage of the electorate for whom that is the only issue.

Kaitlyn said...

So he's a libertarian?

Hey now 12xuser, that's not fair. Now, the only presidential campaign ad I've seen is a boring Obama one (he's the only black person pictured in the ad. Pure coincidence, I'm sure) is about taxes and how McCain wants to tax things and people that Obama doesn't.

But the local ads! They're FULL of awesome! I don't remember who this is against - probably the Republican - but it's got his head pictured on a Roulette wheel, and it says that if we'd privatized social security, look at the losses!

But no, no, no, no! The best actually makes me WANT to live in Mississippi so I can vote for the Democrat.

They show "him" taking money from such bad guys as a Friends of Hilary group, "the largest pro-choice group in the country", and "the Human Rights Campaign, one of the biggest gay [something[ in the country". And a guy in a cow costume. PETA?

The HRC guys are dressed like the Village People.

If only it were true. Maybe it is, he hasn't but out a rebuttal saying he wants to kill gays and protect life. Hmm. Of course if he had, I wouldn't notice, because most of the "I'm sooooooooo GOOD" ads are boring.

Kaitlyn said...

How would the taxpayers not in Congress have any say on the bill?

Do we get a veto stamp? Sweet.

Oh. "Our" representative is "Joe the Plumber."

rewinn said...

"...anyone who defines themselves as a taxpayer, the way these tax-obsessed right-wingers do, is going to be a selfish greedy idiot."

People who define themselves primarily as taxpayers - yes.

Most of us define ourselves as citizens and patriots first, or maybe members of a family. Paying taxes is lower in the ranking, down among "People who have to pay bills" or "Clients of dentists."

And since we define ourselves as patriots/citizens/family guys FIRST, we pay our share willingly, (plus or minus some grouching.) Taxes are the fee for civilization. Until a government learns to support itself with google ads, we can pay taxes or live in the Middle Ages. Hey, Somalia has no effective taxation -- maybe that's the reichwing model state!

But, less seriously: today's comic is another example of Tinkley's absolutely incompetent scripting. Its attempt at a punchline ("258 times har-har!") is crippled by being attached to overly wordy political content ("Realizing ....blah blah blah... .") It's the perfect combination of Soviet Art Theory ("All comics must serve Party Ideology") attached to Soviet Engineering Theory: ("We cannot precisely target our humor, so we will make it bigger!")

Anonymous said...

"Fuckreagan" here.

I think that we would have stimulated the economy if instead of giving the money to the greedy assholes in the banks, we had spread it among the common man, say everyone making less than $50,000 a year. He should, then, have been required him to spend it within a certain period of time.

I notice that the Pentagon is asking for $515,400,000,000 of next year's budget. I think we would, really, improve things by spending $200 elsewhere:

Half for science, $20,000,000,000 for each:

* Discovering ways to lengthen our lives.
* Determining whether God and the afterlife exist (although, they are imaginary.)
* Finding new forms of entertainment.
* Discovering the nature of the universe.
* Advancing robot technology and searching for ways to create a technological singularity (putting the mind's informationinsidea robot or computer for example.)

Another half spread to the common with the requirement that everyone has to spend it within a certain time period.

Could we contact Obama and suggest these? They are, probably, incredibly, unrealistic but if he managed to pass these laws a new Mount Rushmore would, most likely, be carved for his face.

Assuming that these ideas make me a Socialist, das vidanya, Komrades! (Socialism was, apparently, Karl Marx's view of an inferior transitional period between Capitalism and Communism.)

Anonymous said...

Some hard-core laissez-faire capitalists out there are suggesting we let the housing problem crash and burn. The country basically has two awful options to choose from:

1) Let it burn. Pros: house prices will normalize, people who made bad mistakes will be punished, and this will probably never, ever happen again. Cons: it will take down the entire economy for a while, which will definitely cause problems even for the people who didn't do anything wrong. Responsible Ron may have taken out a mortgage he can afford and won't benefit from a bailout, but he's still in danger of losing his job (then, his home) if the economy tanks.

2) Bailout someone, anyone. Pros: stabilize economy, save jobs and homes. Cons: there will be golden parachutes for the people who greenlighted this mess, people will stay in homes they had no business buying, and home prices will remain artificially high.

There's really no good decision to make...

rewinn said...

There's really no good decision to make...

Yah know, I disagree.

The BAD decision is to attack the symptoms; the GOOD decision is to give palliative care while attacking the ROOT.

Temporary, palliative stuff: freeze foreclosures, let bankruptcy judges reset mortgage rates, and have the U.S. Treasury serve as lender of last resort to institutions uneasy to do overnight lending and so forth. That'll keep the rot from spending, at a very small cost.

True, investors will lose money but hey! that's why investing is always a gamble.

Long run, two things:
First, put Glass-Steagall BACK and make it stronger (to include regulating derivatives, securitized mortgages and stuff.)
Pay for it by restoring STET (Security Transaction Excise Tax - 25 cents per 100 dollars whenever you sell stocks, derivatives, whatever) - this not only means the taxpayers aren't on the hook for investor madness, it also stabilizes the securities market.

Second, jobs. The only economic stimulus worth anything is jobs and more jobs. It's best if the jobs are doing useful things, e.g. replacing bridges, cleaning up the water, building solar plants.

P1ssing away a stimulus on rebate checks does NOTHING; it merely takes the money borrowed from China and hands it to the oil companies after a brief stop in the taxpayers' hands.

So, there's room for hope - good options.

Anonymous said...

The "just do something, anything" response is not very persuasive. I'm amazed at the willingness of Obama and other "liberals" to suddenly support corporate welfare on a thermonuclear scale. Bush/McCain would of course endorse sending billions to the fatcats; but how does a liberal justify this? It's obviously not worked so far, as the market continues to tank and job loss accelerates. Tinsley's a moron, but the idea that a "bailout" bill (that wasn't even read by the people who approved it) solves our problems is ludicrous.