The bailout blues

Members of Salon's Table Talk community give their take on the week's Wall Street madness.

Published September 26, 2008 5:51PM (EDT)

White House

Wall Street Shuffle

Happy Idiot - 08:53 pm Pacific Time - Sep 23, 2008

Recession or depression? Bailout or rescue? $700 billion or too high to count? Paulson or China?

Let's get through this together! We're Americans, dammit!

Randall - 05:27 am Pacific Time - Sep 24, 2008 - #13 of 84

I won't pretend to understand much about the bailout plan. But I do understand that it gives complete control of the plan -- and pretty much the entirety of the US economy -- to one person. "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency." The plan may or may not be a good idea -- I certainly don't have a better one to suggest -- but concentrating such power in one person and making that power exempt from review is just un-Constitutional. That is economic dictatorship, pure and simple.

Douglas Wiken - 10:11 am Pacific Time - Sep 24, 2008 - #28 of 84

I guess we now know what "compassionate conservative" really means.

I am wondering how many "owners" each piece of "toxic" property actually has. In any case, the government should get the good properties, make the companies small enough to fail and let them fail with their load of toxic properties.

What part of the $700 billion is actually going to just pay for the excess salaries, bonuses, commissions, etc., that were siphoned out at every transaction and every stage of the multi-layered chain of transactions? $100 billion? Who knows.

Randall - 10:34 am Pacific Time - Sep 24, 2008 - #33 of 84

What's the worst that can happen? And don't tell me the economy will collapse.

What could happen? Well, a number of banks and financial institutions are already teetering. If a number of them fall, they will drag down others. Maybe you don't care about banks or financial institutions. However, the company you work for probably does. Most corporations carry a certain amount of debt as a matter of course. If the banks need cash, they'll call those loans. Assuming that all these corporations are actually able to pay off their loans all at once, they will still have to sell off assets and restrict spending. Not a bad plan for an individual corporation when recession looms, but if that becomes a mass phenomenon, we're talking about a complete contraction of the economy, where businesses don't buy anything from each other, driving more and more of them into bankruptcy and putting more and more people out of work.

The Great Depression of the 1930s could seem comparatively tame. At least back then, lots of people worked on farms so food was always affordable.

SallyForth - 10:51 am Pacific Time - Sep 24, 2008 - #37 of 84

If we were a corporation (or maybe we have become one and just don't know it) this would all smack of a hostile takeover of the business kind. This appears to be building up to a major October surprise. Who wants to bet the FBI blames the Democrats?

Douglas Wiken - 11:00 am Pacific Time - Sep 24, 2008 - #38 of 84

Never mind the $700 billion bailout behind the curtain, you really want to make your second amendment rights a priority and don't let the liberals get your guns, and for heaven's sake, don't forget about opposing abortion. Keep your priorities straight.

Nina Katarina - 11:01 am Pacific Time - Sep 24, 2008 - #39 of 84

Of course. If things really go down the tubes we're going to have to go Jonathan Swift on all those babies.

dsduryea - 04:30 pm Pacific Time - Sep 25, 2008 - #67 of 84

I don't know about you, but I planted a bunch of tulip bulbs a couple of weeks ago.

juliajenniegillespie - 09:42 am Pacific Time - Sep 26, 2008 - #82 of 84

I'm drawing all my savings out of the bank in the morning.

I'm sure there are many, many others who are sick and tired of this whole thing and feel like doing the same. So ... the financiers and the govt. better thing of something quickly. The right something. Otherwise...

They want to see a run on banks? We can show them a run on banks. If, indeed, withdrawals brought WaMu down, just think what might happen to smaller banks across the country. They brought on this mess, let's see them clean it up.

What Constitution? - 09:45 am Pacific Time - Sep 26, 2008 - #83 of 84

Well, when the President announces that "we have nothing to fear except maybe not being afraid enough about the imminent collapse of the economy," who is surprised by people taking their money out of banks known to be in some trouble?

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