Remembering 2008

We are occasionally reminded of the 2008 financial meltdown and its aftermath, and the taxpayer-funded bailouts of banks, insurance companies and an automobile manufacturer or two. The massive bailout, $633 billion approximately, was paid out to 982 entities. $633 billion went into TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program). Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac received $192 billion of that.

Of those recipients, 780 were obligated to pay back the money. The rest, totaling $29.9 billion, received direct subsidies for TARP’s housing programs.

But who’s keeping track?

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Privatize Profits, Socialize Losses

The last half-century has shown us four things that come with Republicans in power:

  1. Exploding deficits. (“Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter,” quoth Darth Cheney.)
  2. Scandal (Not a blow-job-in-the-White-House scandal, but a major outrage, e.g. Iran-Contra, Valerie Plame.)
  3. Invasion of a country perceived to be unable to defend itself. (Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan/Iraq)
  4. Taxpayer bailout of financial industry after meltdown brought on by repealed regulation. (Savings & Loan, Derivative Trading)

The current administration has already given us numbers 1 and 2; number 3 is in the works. As sure as Mitch McConnell is democracy’s gravedigger, number 4 is coming.

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