The history of HCR isn't the only history being re-written
Generally, I like Dave Johnson, but this is just wrong. Here's how he reacts to the R "Pledge to America":
The deficit they created with tax cuts will be cured by ... tax cuts? The TARP bank bailout they left us with will be cured by ... tax cuts? The jobs that never appeared after their tax cuts will be created by ... tax cuts? The health care bill will be replaced by ... tax cuts? Terrorists will be fought with ... tax cuts?
Wrong on the historical record. Wrong. The Rs are not the party that "left us" with the TARP bailout. That's totally down to the Ds, who passed it. Moreover, Obama whipped for the bill. And significant parts of the R base opposed the bill vehemently -- these are the guys who want to abolish the Fed, mkay? They didn't want to bail out the banks at all. Those of us who were following this story 24/7 in Fall 2008 instead of the horse race actually know all this, so it's amazing to me, or not, that the community that used to call itself "reality-based" gets this stuff so wrong so often.
And it gets worse! This is the chart you need to understand the bailouts:
The bailouts as a whole amounted to trillions of dollars -- perhaps as much as $23 trillion. Most of the the
looting bailing out was done by the Treasury and the Fed under Bush well before TARP was a gleam on Hank Paulson's skull. TARP, at a mere $700 billion, is a mere fraction of that total. However, until the extremely fortuitous collapse of Lehman (which ensured Obama's election), the bailouts were invisible to the general public -- and only became visible when TARP entered the legislative arena. The Ds, by passing TARP, accepting the bailouts, and continuing the Bush administration's policy of lack of transparency and accountability, consolidated, normalized, and ratified the Bush administration's power grab: Exactly as with torture.*
By using TARP as a shorthand or synechdoche or the bailouts as a whole, Johnson simultaneously minimizes the looting by substituting billions for trillions, obfuscates the timeline, and absolves the Ds of their very real responsibility, their culpability, for the largest upward transfer of wealth in world history. That's just wrong.
Why does this matter? As I keep saying: We're not funded well enough to maintain the same kind of structure of bullshit and lies that Versailles does; we can't lie our way to justice. We've got to get the history right, because evidence and reasoning are the only tools we all have, and they come for free (or at least at lower cost than the teebee, the think tanks, the endowed chairs, our famously free press and all the rest of the bullshit chain).
Here's Johnson's link again; please click through, since I want this post to show up in his tracker.
NOTE * It's useful to look at the financial crisis as a form of torture; that's one of the ideas behind Shock Doctrine.