Monday, September 29, 2008

Privatize the FDIC?

Now that the largest bailout in U.S. history may be history itself, what may we expect next? Since privatizing social security hasn't been completely ruled out, and won't be especially if the Republicans prevail in November, what about privatizing the FDIC?

After all, what will happen when the FDIC runs out of money? Who will insure the FDIC?

Not the U.S. Treasury which is too busy cutting dollar bills that are worth less and less; too busy taking high octane empire booster shots, and expending, by some estimates, as much as $3 trillion on an irrelevant war to worry it's pretty little head about the fate of the FDIC.

Who do we call when we get music on hold at the ATM, and not money? Do we call Herr Paulson, collect, and ask him if he can spare a dime, or $700 billion?

Look, it doesn't take a Ph.D in math to figure out that we spend, in 5 months, on the war in Iraq about as much as we have in the FDIC fund. So, while the hitherto impervious Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, along with WaMu, cower in fear of the future, the other financial behemoths run away with the prize.

What happens when the neighborhood bully can't stand up to a punch, and Citibank buys up every square foot of financial space on Main Street? Does this make for a freer free market? Don't expect to hear a peep out of the rogues on Wall Street, or the rogues in the mainstream press either. The news, these days, is decapitated, and every bit as manipulated as the market that got us into this mess.

The same way the media rolled over for Rupert Murdoch, the money markets will roll over for financial consolidation at the expense of the American consumer. It wouldn't be called a bailout if this were about taxpayers getting in over their heads; it'd be called welfare, and government handouts.

While we may question who's doing the regulating, nobody's questioning that regulating's got to be done. The past 20 years of a free ride for the corporate elite have come to a screeching halt, and Mr. and Mrs. Middle America are the ones who are screeching. There were plenty of people who got filthy rich during the Depression. There were carpetbaggers then, and there are carpetbaggers now; think Exxon, Chevron, and Halliburton.

Whether Congress elects to save Wall Street as if it were a wayward child or not, somebody had better start taking a closer look at the euphemism that is free market capitalism which, in the end, means somebody sticking their icy fingers into your empty pockets.