Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) said the other day on Air America that somewhere in the world there has been one bailout after another since he came to Washington, and he angrily listed them: The S & L bailout, the Asian stock market bailout, the Mexican peso bailout, the Wall Street bailout, and now the Detroit bailout. As Sanders pointed out, each of the first four crises came after a round of deregulation that allowed businesses and individuals to milk an industry for windfall profits until it was on the verge of collapse, after which they turned to the taxpayers for help.
I would put it more strongly: They've blackmailed the taxpayers for even more money with the threat that matters would get even worse without it. Unfailingly, they've gotten the money and the government has then gone on to deregulate even more! Taxpayers across the political spectrum have become understandably resentful. That, and the damage inflicted on the economy by deregulation presents, it seems to me, a golden opportunity for the development of a political coalition based on economic populism and not cultural values and racial attitudes.
With the collapse of neoconservatism as a politically viable ideology, the Republicans have knocked their intellectual rationale out from under themselves. The party may soon be dominated by no-nothing nativists and yahoos who will fight yesterday's battles on gay rights and abortion, and prate self-defeatingly about the free market. Since conservatives also surrendered any claims on competence, all the Democrats have to do is act responsibly. The danger, of course, is that they'll settle for that, which means that progressives must keep a watchful eye on their side of the aisle and not be reticent to apply pressure.
Bush and his Republican enablers in Congress have left the country broke and in a mess. Now is the time for universal healthcare access. Now is the time to repair and upgrade infrastructure. Now is the time to invest in education. Now is the time to get out of Iraq and reform the Department of Defense. If not now, when?...
Quote of the Day:
"The employees, dealers, suppliers and the GM board of directors feels strongly that Rick Wagoner is the right guy and best guy to lead us through these tough times."
General Motors spokesman Steve Harris, in response to Senator Christopher Dodd's call for General Motors CEO Wagoner to step down as a condition of any bailout.