On the proposed bail-out of Wall Street, see Echidne. (Don’t take my word for it–she’s an economist.) In sum:
Let me see if I can summarize what they are doing right now in the simplest possible terms: There’s a market who has acted like the Robber Barons of old, with no ethics, no real rules but lots of money for the inside circle of participants. There’s a market which has been allowed to do this in peace and quiet by those who were supposed to oversee it. Then this market collapses, whines and whines and whines. So the supposed overseers give it lots of money, tell it to mind the money themselves and go back to play just as they used to. The only difference is that now the people bearing the risk are those who never got the returns at all. The people getting the returns are still the people who behaved unethically and got us into this mess to begin with.
It’s so amazing what we can afford and what we can’t. We can’t ever afford health care for everyone–that’s “socialized medicine!” But, apparently socialized capitalism is okey-dokey, so long as only the risk is socialized. (Sorry losers–the profits aren’t shared!) $700 billion is only an estimate, and keep in mind that it’s all borrowed funny-money too, so add in another $200 billion for servicing that debt, plus a conservative $400 billion to make up for the Bush administration’s lousy forecasting and bookkeeping, too. Historiann’s father is not a philosophical man, but he has a very wise saying: “People find the time and the money for the things that are important to them.” If the U.S. can find the money to bail-out the “free market,” but believes that it is too poor to ensure health care for all of its citizens, well then, that’s a crystal-clear statement of our priorities.
I’m with Big Tent Democrat: now is the time for Obama to lead. (Chicago Dyke made a similar point at Correntewire, too.) He did so very effectively this summer, when on his trip to Iraq the Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki endorsed the Obama plan for a U.S. withdrawl. Candidate Obama will go a long way towards becoming President Obama if he can come up with an alternative plan that aids non-wealthy individuals instead of just obscenely wealthy individuals and the institutions they’ve mismanaged into the ground. If he can do that, and explain to people in clear language why his plan is the way to go, this election may not be such a horse-race in October.