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Posted by on Jan 14, 2009 in At TMV | 1 comment

Money, It’s a Crime: Ben Bernanke and the Bottomless Bailout

Well, you knew this was coming. As the Times puts it, “the banks need more taxpayer money,” “a lot more money.”

Isn’t this partly why so many of us were against the bailout, at least in principle, from the start? It wasn’t just that it’s a bailout of Wall Street instead of Main Street, which is to say, a bailout of the stinking rich, of those who are at the very core of the financial meltdown and who are very much to blame for it, it was that it was never clear, in terms of dollar figures, what it would amount to. The price tag was just a guess tossed out there by the Treasury, so high that it boggled the mind, initially preventing judgement, but so vague in terms of specifics that it, once the mind settled, it was nothing if not concerning.

In other words, the Treasury didn’t know how money was needed for the bailout, and so it was, and is, in effect, a bottomless bailout. It was never going to be just $700 billion.

And now the banks, with Fed Chairmain Bernanke at the head, is back at the trough, asking for more.

Will there be no end to it?

I said at the time, back in October, that, whatever my opposition to it in principle, it seemed to me that something had to be done, and soon, if only for the sake of public confidence and market stability — and that the bailout was at least something.

Still, confidence and stability aside, the bailout is essentially nothing more than a massive transfer payment to Wall Street, a blank cheque for Treasury Secretary Paulson and the Wall Street oligarchs.

“More capital injections and guarantees may become necessary to ensure stability and the normalization of credit markets,” said Bernanke.

There will be an end to it, eventually, but the wedge has already been driven in. And if the banks get their way, as I suspect they will, more and more taxpayer money, how much nobody knows, will flow in their direction.

(Cross-posted from The Reaction.)

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