The media has settled on pushing the “slacker” image for OWS protesters. Excuse me? The truth is exactly the opposite: it is Wall Street and the wealthiest 1% which has not been “making it” to their satisfaction under free market capitalism and now want further hand-outs from the middle-class.
These hand-outs, called bailouts for bankers, may cost middle-class taxpayers up to $23 trillion for incompetent and slovenly business practices, according to Neil Barofsky, former Inspector General for the TARP bailouts and according to Glenn Greenwald one of the most straight-talking men in Washington. This is impressive because Greenwald does not just say this about anyone.
A series of bailouts, bank rescues and other economic lifelines could end up costing the federal government as much as $23 trillion, the U.S. government’s watchdog over the effort says – a staggering amount that is nearly double the nation’s entire economic output for a year.
It is Wall Street which is lazy, feckless, and which doesn't want to work for a living. It is much easier to bribe politicians to open the public treasury and the good faith and credit of the United States to the depredations of bad businessmen who want something for nothing.
How much is $23 trillion? You almost need to create a new unit for this kind of money. If an entire US federal budget for a year, about $4 trillion, is say, one “budge,” then this upper limit of possible bailout costs is nearly 6 budges. Compared to this the entire Pell Grant program for a year is .004 Budges, all means-tested entitlement programs for a year about .07 budges, including Medicaid, food stamps, family support assistance (AFDC), supplemental security income (SSI), child nutrition programs. As part of a Continuing Resolution (H.R. 1), which cleared the House in February, 2011, Congress levied a $5.7 billion cut to the Pell Grant Program to help balance the budget.
What did not get cut? Not one penny of the bailout money.
How much is $23 trillion? Politico goes on:
$23 trillion is more than the total cost of all the wars the United States has ever fought, put together. World War II, for example, cost $4.1 trillion in 2008 dollars, according to the Congressional Research Service. Even the Moon landings and the New Deal didn't come close to $23 trillion: the Moon shot in 1969 cost an estimated $237 billion in current dollars, and the entire Depression-era Roosevelt relief program came in at $500 billion…
It's not over with TARP. Politico:
Barofsky points out the at the non-TARP programs, which are far larger than the TARP itself, do not come with the strings that the high-profile TARP money itself comes with, including executive compensation, and they don’t necessarily require congressional approval. And beyond the ability to tally their costs, Barofsky has no authority as an auditor over the non-TARP programs.
These bailouts largely benefit that 1% you keep hearing about which already owns one-third of the nation's wealth. The only explanation is: they're shooting for half.
So when the media comes around and asks you “Why are you here?” – You might say “Hey, we like the free market. We ought to try it. Right now what we have is massive socialism for corporations in the form of bank bailouts.”
What's your soundbite?