September 30, 2008

Bailout Failure: Lies and Lack of Apologies in a Parallel Universe

Greetings. All over the news and blogosphere, observers are attempting postmortems on the failure of the Wall Street bailout legislation in Congress yesterday (the new term in vogue for the package is "rescue" rather than bailout, presumably to make it sound less like the charity it obviously was designed to be).

I'm no economist, but the main reason behind the bailout's failure to pass (on its first attempt, anyway) seems rather obvious to me and consists of just one word: LIES.

Viewed dispassionately, it's clear that some sort of bailout (not necessarily the one just voted down) is needed. Quickly.

But we've been lied to so much that it's completely understandable why people feel the way they do and have been screaming bloody murder at their government representatives that they don't want the bailout.

We've been lied to about the PATRIOT Act. Lied to about Iraq. Lied to by the mortgage lenders and banks, and by untold numbers of economic pundits.

Why don't people see the urgency of the situation? One reason is that the inner workings of the credit markets have been largely invisible to most of us all along. But there's another very important factor.

Turn on the TV. Turn on the radio. You'll see and hear exactly the same array of commercials for investment plans, banks, and cheap home loans as always. It's as if nothing whatever has changed, like a parallel universe to the crisis atmosphere we see on the news in-between the advertising spots.

What's more, I have yet to hear or see a single commercial, ad, or broadcast media announcement on radio or television from any bank or other financial institution that says, "We're suspending our normal advertising to tell you that we're in crisis -- we need your help -- and we apologize for our greed and misleading actions up to now." Fat chance.

Instead, what we observe is Wall Street's typical array of commercials suggesting business as usual. Invest! Buy! Dream the dream!

No wonder that most people feel that they're being fed yet another lie with the bailout plan, and are passing along these feelings to their congressmen.

The financial industry is now reaping the whirlwind of greed. And the rest of us are being sucked into their nightmare.


Posted by Lauren at September 30, 2008 09:13 AM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein