The Opportunity

If the powers that be tell me that the country needs something like the financial measures being announced today, I’m not going to disagree with them. But tactically, I think it’d be crazy to just hand this package over for the President’s signature. Every time progressives in congress try to get something done for working people, conservatives either block it or else hold it hostage to some nutty tax cut. Why not tie this bailout to something like the second stimulus package of enhanced food stamps, extended unemployment insurance, and enhanced aid to state governments straining under the yoke of Medicaid payments?

It’d be absurd for the government to be moving hundreds of billions of dollars around amidst an economic crisis while doing nothing for, say, janitors who get laid off from Lehman Brothers. The problems to worry about here are in the “real” economy. Propping up the financial sector can help accomplish that, but we also need to prop up normal people trying to pay the bills and weather the storm.