Saturday, January 24, 2009

Today's Catchphrase

Image credit: Creative Commons Copyright Cujo359

Robert Reich seems to have invented a new catchphrase:

America has embraced Lemon Socialism.

The federal government -- that is, you and I and every other taxpayer -- has taken ownership of giant home mortgagors Fannie and Freddie, which are by now basket cases. We've also put hundreds of millions into Wall Street banks, which are still flowing red ink and seem everyday to be in worse shape. We've bailed out the giant insurer AIG, which is failing. We've given GM and Chrysler the first installments of what are likely to turn into big bailouts. It's hard to find anyone who will place a big bet on the future of these two.

How America Embraced Lemon Socialism

Lemon socialism - kinda catchy, don't you think?

As for the last sentence in that quote, if there were a truly level playing field, where all had to beg equally to get the bailout they needed, I'd be betting on GM and Chrysler over most of the banks that are in trouble. Sadly, that's not the way it's worked out. Except for Barney Frank's favor to a local bank, most of the ones that have received the aid are the ones least in need of it. None of the uses that money was to be put to was scrutinized very well beforehand, either. So, when it comes to the chances of the weak ones, I'll still take the car industry over the banks, thank you very much.

Reich's basic point is correct, of course. It's a shorter version of "capitalize the gain, socialize the risk". It's now small enough for a bumper sticker, which means it might go viral. One can hope, anyway.

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