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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stimulated to explore new dimensions of insanity

Einstein is credited with the quip that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Although the saying is one of those that is pithy because it is rooted in shrewd recognition of truth, it is repeated so often and by so many people for whom the recognition of truth, shrewdly or otherwise, is not likely that it has become a cliche and has lost its cogency. But it still describes what is going on with all the hullabaloo surrounding the stimulus package and the bail-out bill.

The Republicans say that the Democrats want to spend, spend, spend (as the Repbulican mantra insists they always do) and keep throwing money at things. Spending, they say, doesn't solve any problems, although they say that spending by consumers, who have little money right now, is what it will take to reverse the recession we are in. The Democrats say that the Republicans can only repeat their demand for tax cuts, which do not have a good record for economic stimulation, either. And many of us say that the partisan quibbling is the last thing that can provide any viable plans for salvaging our economic system, but the political parties just keep at it as if their bickering, accusations, and snarky little insults have ever solved any problem or provided any insights as to how problems can be solved. Bipartisan effort is a crock.

The bailout bill seems like a graduate course in such insanity. During the first distribution of money, $350 billion, the people whose avarice and profligacy got us into this economic nose-dive were handed the money to use at their discretion. That was insane. Our executive corps and officials in the financial industry created this mess, and then went on more luxury binges with the money and refused to reveal just what they did with it. They failed and betrayed us. And another form of insanity is not recognizing he people and conditions that have created a disaster. How stupid must we be to trust these people to do anything competently and honestly.

The dispersal of the second half of the bailout money is to be done with regulations that require them to account for what they are doing with taxpayer money. And according to a story in the NY Times, the financial executives think these measures are unfair, and would like to give the money back, but they are simply too close to total failure to even think of that. Although it would be nice to get that money back and put it to better use. In one of the biggest displays of whining petulance and tantrum-throwing, business leaders are quoted in the Times article as saying they would rather give up the money than allow government to monitor how they spend it.

We have often pointed out that claiming this kind of privilege and power over people is a form of fascism, corporate fascism.

It is tempting to simply say let the system fail and the bastards sink into the cesspool they have created, and let the competent come in and take over from them. But the people who could foreclose on the American economic system are global corporations, some of the biggest fascists of all, and foreign governments who would love to take charge of America.

Given the direction that the handling of our economic crisis has taken, it seems that the only thing we can do is reconcile ourselves to living in a 50-state loony bin.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States