Safeguarding “the system.”

As bad economic news tumbled out yesterday, the New York Times reported:

“I’m sorry it’s happening, of course,” Mr. Bush said in an interview with ABC’s “World News” on Monday. “Obviously, I don’t like the idea of Americans losing their jobs or being worried about their 401(k)s. On the other hand, the American people got to know that we will safeguard the system.”

The effect of all the maneuverings to “safeguard the system” so far has been that while “the credit markets have been stalled by continued fears among financial institutions about who can be trusted for even short-term transactions, . . . the effects on home loans and other purposes could remain modest.”

That means that people are still left out in the cold, increasingly unemployed and increasingly unable to retire. And Bush is “sorry it’s happening,” but will be retiring himself soon, very comfortably (unless he’s indicted). “[Allen] Sinai of Decision Economics said it was hard to imagine that this downturn would have hit bottom within the next four months, which would make it all but certain to set a new record.”

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr., claims the way to fix the economy is to inject liquidity into the financial system. It is becoming hard to distinguish this from the discredited “trickle down” notion of economics that the way to help the poor is to make the rich richer. Banks are lending to each other, but not to anyone else.

Instead, people are losing their jobs. And their wages have been steadily reduced for thirty years. But the powers that be say they’re trying to make it easier to lend to them. An unidentified executive who works in the banking industry points out that “as people begin to lose their jobs, they will not be able to pay their credit card bills either. And the banks will be back for more handouts.” Duh.

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