Monday, November 24, 2008

Piglets At The Teats of the Government

Remember that phrase or something similar from the 1990s welfare debate? The poor were piglets sucking at the teats of the greatest mummy sow of them all: the federal government. That's how Bill Clinton ended up ending welfare for good and all that, after the Republicans took over the Congress and needed their own blood-red meal: the poor.

Except that welfare was never ended for the rich:

The U.S. government is prepared to provide more than $7.76 trillion on behalf of American taxpayers after guaranteeing $306 billion of Citigroup Inc. debt yesterday. The pledges, amounting to half the value of everything produced in the nation last year, are intended to rescue the financial system after the credit markets seized up 15 months ago.

Following the discussion about who deserves a bailout is fascinating, because Detroit and its car-makers don't deserve one, never mind that the industry is one of the largest employer in the country, but banks, those halls of marble and pillars, do deserve one, because they have us all by the short and curly. They are too big to fail! Or rather, their failures will hurt all the little gals and guys much more than it will hurt the rich, and that is how the rich got saved, once again.

I am not belittling the need to do something about the economic recession, because the financial industries do have us by the short and curly. I just want to point out that when we ended welfare for all times we added lots of stuff about the poor having to work to get welfare payments and lots of time limits on how long any one family could stay on welfare. And all this for an expense that was around one dollar out of each one hundred dollars the federal government spent then! Now we are willing to hand over brazillion dollars and ask nothing back in terms of good behavior. Indeed, we are not even demanding that those in charge would be demoted, because we want stability in the banks! Nobody worried about the stability of families on welfare in the great and roaring nineties.

If you don't think that power goes with money in this society you are probably not a member of this society. And yes, Larry Summers got a cushy job in the Obama administration. He's a good economist and perhaps the country needs him. But slurs about us wimminfolk still only cause a hickup on the career rises of our boyz.