Solarbird (solarbird) wrote,
Solarbird
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Greenwald weighs in on the bailout

Glenn Greenwald, wandering just a bit outside his usual territory, describes the bailout, calling it a "pitchfork moment," and how it's been assumed as a good as a whole by Congress and the political media. He gives direct comparison to the war and to various executive power expansions and the surveillance state, and complains about, well, some of the things I and people I've pointed to have cone on about:
Third, what's probably most amazing of all is the contrast between how gargantuan all of this is and the complete absence of debate or disagreement over what's taking place. It's not just that, as usual, Democrats and Republicans are embracing the same core premises ("this is regrettable but necessary"). It's that there's almost no real discussion of what happened, who is responsible, and what the consequences are. It's basically as though the elite class is getting together and discussing this all in whispers, coordinating their views, and releasing just enough information to keep the stupid masses content and calm.

Can anyone point to any discussion of what the implications are for having the Federal Government seize control of the largest and most powerful insurance company in the country, as well as virtually the entire mortgage industry and other key swaths of financial services? Haven't we heard all these years that national health care was an extremely risky and dangerous undertaking because of what happens when the Federal Government gets too involved in an industry? What happened in the last month dwarfs all of that by many magnitudes.

The Treasury Secretary is dictating to these companies how they should be run and who should run them. The Federal Government now controls what were -- up until last month -- vast private assets. These are extreme -- truly radical -- changes to how our society functions. Does anyone have any disagreement with any of it or is anyone alarmed by what the consequences are -- not the economic consequences but the consequences of so radically changing how things function so fundamentally and so quickly?

[...]

But there's virtually no discussion of that in America's dominant media outlets. All one hears is that everything that is happening is necessary to save us all from economic doom. And what's most amazing about that is that the Natural, Unchallenged Consensus That Nobody Questions can shift drastically in a matter of days and still nobody questions anything. ...

The way it works is that Bush officials decree how things will be, and then everyone -- from Congressional Democrats to the Serious Pundits -- jump uncritically and obediently on board, even if they were on board with the complete opposite approach just days earlier, and then all real dissent vanishes. That's how the country in general works.
He links to the current plans, noting that as a direct statement in the bill, that "this authorizes Hank Paulson to transfer $700 billion of taxpayer money to private industry in his sole discretion, and nobody has the right or ability to review or challenge any decision he makes." Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
Tags: economics
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