All the recent debate about the Federal Government budget somehow overlooked the TARP program, something that happened less than three years ago. This atrocity has been too quickly forgotten, and nothing has been done about it. What happened was, the Government took on $750 billion in debt, and handed the money directly to America’s largest banks. To save them. Save them, from what?
To save them from their inevitable demise, failed businesses that failed because they were not providing goods and services to the public. Classic supply and demand; not enough consumers were buying what they were selling. But hey, since when does that matter? At least, it doesn’t matter any more.
Formerly, Government spending stimulated economic activity by taking money and handing it to the lowest rungs of the economic ladder. The people at the bottom, struggling to fit in (or in some cases, unable to fit in.) The hardcore unemployed, the unemployables, the people unable to adapt to modern society, their contributions not measurable in dollars and sense.
People perhaps better suited to a post-apocalyptic world, or perhaps better suited to do well in a far-distant future when humankind and its society undergoes another dramatic advance in science, technology or the arts. Or something. Who knows? My point being, just because some people aren’t doing so well now, and could never really adapt to current society, things change. Imagine today’s wealthy elites trying to carve out a disproportionate share of wealth and power in medieval Europe. Back then, wealth and power was accumulated by homicidal maniacs. The ability to swing a heavier sword than the next guy meant success, more than anything else.
So things change over time. And something has changed recently. A lot of Government money used to go to social welfare programs. Want to get rich off food stamps? Own a grocery store. Want to get rich off welfare? Buy, renovate and rent out low-income housing. And low-end doctor offices, and schools, and vocational training facilities for those who struggle with poverty. Start a business that does seasonal hiring, help a few bums get off the dole for a while.
Ah, but that is just too hard. The modern get-rich business model is efficiency, cutting out the middle man. Forget that nonsense of having to provide goods and services to the unwashed masses, the recipients of Government handout programs. Get the Government to hand the money directly to the businesses. Big Business, Big Banks, have become the Government handout recipients.
TARP. The Toxic Asset Relief Program. 2008. The highest order of corporate welfare. A deliberate abduction of Government money.
How quickly we forgot.