I have a lot of thoughts about this big bailout plan that's been unveiled. My interest is hopelessly nerdy and political, but what we're seeing right now is totally, like, crazy.
- First of all, $700B?!?!? For a sense of scale, that's more than the Iraq war has cost to date (though Iraq will cost much more over time in terms of support for wounded, replacing equipment, etc). It's also about $2,000 for every man, woman and child in the country.
- Secondly, the treasury secretary gets to do whatever the fuck he wants with it: "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency." Bold.
- Gotta love capitalism.
The most interesting thing here to me is how this jives with what I recall from Polyani's The Great Transformation. What this appears to be is a move to protect people from the market, except that unlike in the past when those being protected were workers or families or the like, the entities being protected here are banks themselves.
Further, while there's clearly a huge amount of elites looking out for themselves here, the really striking thing is that the moral justification here is that if the whole shitpile were allowed to tumble, the impact on regular folks would be really bad. So you're going to see people making the argument shortly (if they're not already) that we're protecting the finance sector from the workings of the market in order to maintain the current standard of living for regular citizens.