A bailout I do understand

I don’t want to dwell too much on the $700 billion bailout/buy-in/rescue package to save the markets and the economies of the world, mainly because there are plenty of other places to read all about it. But I will say this:

  • I think this is an excellent example of poor explanation, communication, and/or rhetoric. I consider myself to be a reasonably smart guy who keeps up with the news, though I will freely admit that money and economics are not exactly my strong suit. But as far as I can tell, no one has really explained just what the hell this money is for, why this is necessary, why it would work, and why spending $700 billion (or so– as best I can tell from what I’ve heard, this number is essentially made up) on banks would be a better way to help the economy than spending $700 billion on nearly anything else. But I am planning on listening to This American Life this weekend because they are going to do a show that attempts to actually do what the politicians should be doing: explaining this to constituents.
  • What we’re seeing here, IMO, is what happens after we forced through the Patriot Act without debating/thinking about it, and after the White House flat-out lied to get us into Iraq, the most disastrous war in our history, and after Paulson, Bush, etc. are now saying “the sky is falling” when just a few months ago they were saying everything was hunky-dory. Every American toddler knows the story of Chicken Little and the boy who cried wolf; why the current administration doesn’t understand that is a mystery to me.
  • The only bailout I have understood lately is Charles Bernstein’s proposed poetry bailout. Bernstein writes:

    As we know, lax composition practices since the advent of modernism led to irresponsible poets and irresponsible readers. Simply put, too many poets composed works they could not justify. We are seeing the impact on poetry, with a massive loss of confidence on the part of readers. What began as a subprime poetry problem on essentially unregulated poetry websites has spread to other, more stable, literary magazines and presses and contributed to excess poetry inventories that have pushed down the value of responsible poems.

    Though I think going all the way back to 1904 to clear out the glut of poems might be a few years too far.

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