Should we give Henry Paulson and George Bush nearly unlimited power to give out $700 billion dollars as they see fit? Do they have your best interests in their hearts, or are they looking after the interests of banking and investing friends and the trickle-down economy? I know my answer to that question. And to be fair, they do not need to see themselves as wolves in order to act like wolves. The vision of government and leadership to which they subscribe is simply destructive to people and to the planet.
Going beyond those generalizations, the issue here is substitution. That is, the question we are being told to answer is "How do we preserve the current financial system with minimum disturbance?". The rush to take Congressional action and vote on this is part of the attempt to avoid the real question: "Should the United States support the current financial system, with its focus on perpetual growth and a self-contained, self-referential world of money that controls much of this country?" What system is really best for us? If we vote the $700 billion into the hands of Paulson and the president, we lose a once-in-a-century chance to re-evaluate and perhaps choose to change the "game".
Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s changed many of the rules of the game. He began Social Security to give people a safety net. Many government jobs were created to improve national infrastructure while providing positive work and income for the unemployed. If we are given a few days to think, what would we come up with?
There are financial experts (and I am not an expert) who have stated that we should allow the system to work itself out now. Is it better to slather Elmer's glue all over our current house of cards, or to build a real house after the current house collapses? Is the unprecedented concentration of wealth in the hands of the top few percent a healthy situation for society - even for those bloated super-rich?
A bailout that will reinforce the abuses by the wealthy financial section and that will burden tax payers with a trillion dollars of added debt (at least), does not seem to me like much of a solution.
What if we abandoned perpetual growth as a model for society and the economy? What if we lived closer to the planet and with an understanding of the true value of each natural resource? I am a business person, and I am not against business and capitalism. But I am against run-away, unregulated, winner-takes-all capitalism. That is what we have had for the last eight years, and to some extent for even the last 30 years. If we lived with a true economy, where each action was recognized by its true cost to the environment as well as to human commerce, then the planet would start to repair itself, as natural systems recovered.
Heaven help us if we actually think about where we are and how we got there! No, let's quickly throw the $700 billion into the hands of those who got us to where we are right now. They will know how to help us all. Yes, sure.