Bail-out the People, Not the Banks

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In its first month, the Obama administration has proposed a $800 billion stimulus plan, asked for the remainder of $700 million TARP program to bail out financial firms, and proposed another Trillion to support the banks and a Trillion to support loans. This is on top of money for Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, GM, Chrysler, and Ford. In order words we're committing over FOUR TRILLION dollars of our money or $11,000 for every person - man, women, or child - in the U.S.


This is just a continuation of the state's i.e. government's role to prop up business. It's not change we can believe in. The banks and financial firms created this mess and are being rescued, while people are thrown out of work and lose homes. We get recycled Clinton administration hacks whose primary goal is to save corporations and the system rather than help people.


Here's an alternative. There could be a bail-out for people rather than corporations. It would be trickle-up rather than tricke-down economics.


What a bail out for people could do
The Obama stimulus plan has a goal - a hope - of 4 million jobs, assuming states, businesss, etc. hire people at the estimated rates. Under Franklin Roosevelt, the Works Progress Administration - the government - directly employed 8.5 million people doing socially important work like conservation, building dams, roads, arts, and public buildings. For 250 billion you could duplicate that, less than the first half of the TARP. Hey, guess what, they'll spend the money, pay taxes and put it in the economy, unlike the banks, who hoarded the 350 billion that they got. We could go further and employ every one of the 10 million unemployed for 300 billion.


Alternatively, we could double the spending for basic human needs - housing, food stamps, education, and health. The 2008 department budgets for Housing and Urban Development was $35 billion, Health and Human Services was $697 billion, and Education $67 billion. Food stamps cost $8 billion. The total basic human needs budget has a maximum cost of $807 billion (because there's spending in those departments that really aren't for human needs), less than the cost of the new Trillion dollar support for the banks. Again, people will spend their money for these needs and "help" the economy.


Unfortunately, this is too "radical" an idea and has never been entertained by a "change" administration. Maybe we need to change more than an administration.