You know you have to give the right wingers credit, well no not really. They have consistently argued against the bail out. However, they have absolutely no other suggestions to offer. So I guess one needs to acknowledge that when they claim that the bail out is not working the way it is currently designed, they are right. On the other hand they seem to think that it would be best if the government not do anything at all and just let all these businesses collapse. Which will give us all the ability to go to some sort of pre-1929 heyday of free enterprise. Oh wait we were already there. So I guess the credit is much like that given a stopped watch (no not a digital, but an old fashion one with numbers around the dial).
I picked up a copy of Krugman's book The Return of Depression Economics the other day and was very depressed by what I read on the back cover (and yes I really am reading more than the back cover, thank you). At any rate shortly after Reagan was elected I said I figured that the country could be run with 25% unemployment and the right could scare enough people to keep power. What I didn't realize was the power of the concept of under-employment. Have most of us employed, but at less than full time with a close to minimum wage.
But the real idea from the back of the book, was what if Hoover had done the little necessary to prevent the 1929 recession from becoming the 1930 depression. We would not have had social security, probably not federal unemployment insurance or workers comp. Nor would we have medicaid or medicare (yeah, I know that these last two came later, but they built on the New Deal).
So FDR had all sorts of people advising him many from the left, who does Obama have? Mostly folks who were right there urging things on when those things were going down the crapper. So what are the ideas? Throw a lot of money at the wealthiest, and make sure the wealthiest bankers and corporation executives remain in power because who else knows how to spend that money after all? I mean they may have effectively destroyed their companies and the world wide economy, but hey we're all friends here. No need to look outside the narrow group people who have run this country for the last thirty years.
So what I'm looking at is this country kind of half assed coming more or less out of this little trouble we've gotten ourselves into and limping along for a while without a lot of overt hunger etc. I mean less face it the middle class and working class have been willing to see their real wages cut continuously for the last twenty years without really kicking about it. Why should they complain now.
However, this bring us back to where I started. Eventually, things will probably get really bad for the poor and middle class and liberalism and progressivism will be seen as failed options, socialism and communism are already seen as failed so where does that leave us? I do remember at the history department of my middle of America state college in the 70s and the professor saying that when middle class societies have a revolution it isn't a socialist one, it is a fascist one. (No not the Goldberg kind of fascist, the real honest to god 1930s kind of fascist ones).