I was going to post on the money we are pouring into this bailout compared to what we get for green investment. But John McGrath said it for me:

…The very first things Barack Obama should do when inaugurated is 1) propose legislation to the U.S. Congress creating single-payer healthcare in America, and 2) initiate a massive program to get America off coal, oil, and natural gas. Expensive, you say? Big government, you say? Bite me. If the U.S. taxpayer can be put on the hook for billions to no purpose at all, while the arsonists responsible for this mess escape without so much as a night in prison, then we can afford pretty much any amount of big-government project you can name. (And, btw, Iraq is still slated to cost $3 trillion plus…)

The justification here, it seems, is that Wall Street needs to be “recapitalized,” which in plain English means the treasury is going to give banks hundreds of billions of dollars for chunks of big shitpile. Fuck me, if you want to give somebody billions of dollars for nothing I could probably set up a solvent, competent banking system too. The difference is I haven’t just spend the last decade running businesses into the ground, which apparently disqualifies me from running a Fortune 500 company, or a Republican presidential campaign.

When I say this is money being thrown down a hole, somebody is sure to object that this is, in fact, a necessary rescue. The equivalent of calling in the fire department. No, it’s not. This is the equivalent of spending years building shitty matchstick homes. Made of paper, plywood, and frayed wiring. On the side of a volcano. And then calling the fire department to rescue the poor, innocent people who could never possibly have predicted they were heading towards disaster.

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Here’s my alternate bailout proposal: Instead of the trillion dollars that it’s now estimated the U.S. is going to spend getting out of this mess, how about we let Wall Street burn and spend that money rebuilding the actual economy? On today of all days, don’t tell me the U.S. can’t afford high-speed rail or solar power. The government can charter what ever GSEs it needs to get through the immediate crisis, and in the meantime if Wall Street collapses entirely they’ll deserve every bit of it and the supply of donations to the Republican party will dry up appreciably. I call it win-win.

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