Sunday, September 21, 2008
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
I thought the October Surprise would be Osama Bin Laden's head on a stake, or Israel's U.S.-backed invasion of Iran, but that just shows that I allowed myself to be distracted by old battles.
Remember how the Patriot Act and the Iraq invasion were rushed through Congress, each under a grave and gathering threat? Well, now it looks like the entire U.S. economy may be delivered to one single man, Henry Paulson, former CEO of Goldman Sachs.
Al Qaeda and the NeoCons seek the same path, though toward different ends. One is a foreign enemy, the other is domestic. For both, bankrupting the current U.S. system is required to make way for a replacement ideology. Bin Laden's approach is to repeat the fall of the Soviet Union; draw the U.S. into unsustainable military conflict. The NeoCons' route is to infiltrate and destroy from within, or at least reduce the treasury to the point that the government can be drowned in a bathtub. Next step: rationalize that all the New Deal social programs, including Social Security and the "alphabet soup of agencies" the FDIC, SEC, and FHA, plus the highway system and public schools -- all must go (i.e. be privatized) because there's no money to fund them.
It's depressing and debilitating, but I still think it's important to concentrate on electing Obama and unseating as many Republicans as possible, if only on the off chance they'll rally the People to fight for these institutions as they're challenged. And tomorrow morning instead of doing my job, I'm going to call my reps and try to direct their attention to the alternate ideas listed in this WaPo article.
In its present form, the economic "rescue" proposal gives Paulson completely unchecked power to spend unlimited money. (You thought there was a $700B limit? There isn't; it's $700B at a time.) It allows him to buy and sell crummy assets at any price he decides is OK. He can buy them for sixty cents on the dollar and sell them for twenty cents on the dollar. The decisions he makes will be non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion; that's non-reviewable even by any court of law or any administrative agency. No checks and balances. Where have we heard this song before?
So, the October surprise is that the Congress no longer controls the budget, and the presidency is irrelevant. The NeoCons don't need to keep the White House or the Congress because they've heisted the entire economy. To quote Oliver North: "neat idea."
Somebody tell a joke.