"The bailout is bullshit. You broke it, you bought it."
(The YouTube title for this vid is NYC Wall St. Bailout Protest 25 September 2008. Did you see it on the teebee? Me neither. But it strongly suggests that the consensus on TARP outside the Village is at least as strong as the consensus inside - just in the opposite direction.
This video was linked to from the very lengthy comments area for a kos (sorry 'bout that!) post authored yesterday by a famed economics blogger from across the sea:
Oh boy - TARP was not necessary and it's a trillion dollar robbery
by Jerome a Paris
In this post Mr. Paris states what we all know but which the Village simply will not tell us:
Nationalisation is the solution
The current banking system is terminally bankrupt. Banks today will not lend, even to sound businesses, even if you give them the money to do so. So you have to compel them to lend. Banks (or more precisely, their shareholders, management and creditors) should not be saved: they should be repsectively wiped out, fired and made to take their losses. The banking infrastructure (including most employees, which had little or no responsibility in the crisis) can be diverted from its prior uses towards those now determined by government as part of the mopping up exercise of the hole that the very banking system created.
Financiers are part of the problem, not part of the solution, right now. Don't save them. But save the boring, utility bits of banks. Banks will not do that on their own. Government has to force them. Urgently.
Also in the comments was a subthread discussing whether TARP prevented a bank run or whether it didn't do a fuckin' thing. It's worth reading for a look at how everyday Americans with no financial expertise have figured it all out. One commenter in particular, Brooke in Seattle, explains why she can't withdraw money from the bank even with TARP's "help":
But there's a negative balance in my account because I haven't had a job in two years. And that is the real reason banks won't lend -- no jobs.
There are too many people who actually NEED the money but have no jobs to pay back a loan and no reasonable hope that they will ever HAVE a job that will enable them to do so.
After getting static from a pro-TARP bozo (pssst...Brooke, read Corrente, we don't have anyone like that here), Brooke fires back:
You said, "Can you still go to the banks and withdraw money?" And I answered. "No. I can't."
I can't be the only loser in this country who has no job and no money in the bank. (I guess just the only one posting here. What else do I have to do?)
So there you have it: mass rage, clear thinking, and justifiable despair - all the ingredients needed to smash the capital strike and ring in New Deal II.
So which way ya gonna go, Barry? Hoover or Roosevelt? As Klaatu the alien said 58 years ago, the decision rests with you.