Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Real Bailout

OK, I've given this at least as much thought as McCain did to skipping Letterman last week, and I have a bailout plan. It's not simple, it won't be easy, and it will take a few months to work itself through the system. Please consider this as part of the "NotPresident" Campaign Platform ©.

Here goes:

1) End the invasion of Iraq, immediately. In totality, this has cost us nearly $700 billion over the past five years. I don't think this is a coincidence. I sometimes wonder, late at night after that cup of cocoa that's supposed to make me sleepy for three days, if indeed we aren't paying extortion money to Al Qaeda, instead of bailing out the banks.

2) Take that $700 billion bailout and pay it to every man, woman, and child in the country. It seems to me that this is a no-brainer. It's roughly $3,300 per person. People who need it for their mortgages will help bailout their local bank. People who don't need it will either spend it or invest it, which will raise both economic activity and available investable capital. More on this in a later post. And this way, accountability is directly to the American people.

3) Cut out the middle man. There ought to be a truth-in-lending law that traces who your specific mortgage is sold to. If you need to bargain for a refinance or a repackaging, that's the person who you ought to be speaking to. They have the skin in the game (by buying the mortgage, they take the risk out of your bank's balance sheet), plus this forces them to personalize their policies regarding refinances/repackagings. Right now, they can be bloodless, heartless bastards. Let's force them back into the pool.

4) Raise taxes on the rich. Obama has already said he would do this, but he needs to be clearer, much clearer about it. If I was debating McCain, and was challenged on this, I would look straight into the camera and say the following: "My fellow Americans, Senator McCain would like you to believe that I will raise your taxes. Well, I won't, and this is a promise you can take to the bank: I will not raise your taxes. I am going to raise theirs, and that terrifies them."

5) Create government work jobs, make work if necessary. $3,300 is a good start to jump starting the economy, but our workforce will be suffering layoffs. We will need a program to absorb as much of these folks and utilize them for the good of the nation. We have infrastructure problems, we have security issues, and we can create grand programs to modernize such things as Internet access in rural communities (yes, they still have dial up in large swaths of the country!) and bring green energy technologies to everyone.

6) Impose an excess profits tax on oil companies. 40% ought to do it, above and beyond the profit earned at the $50 a barrel level. Hey, we gave them a price support when oil was hovering around $15 a barrel, they ought to be *grateful* to pay.

7) Strong incentives to communities to develop mass transit. Transportation uses about two thirds of US energy consumption each year. That's ridiculous. This could be part of my public works program. Our economic freedom will never be assured until we can get people out of their cars and into work.

8) Treat corporations as second class citizens. Finally, I would nullify the 1979 Supreme Court decision that expanded the "civil" rights of corporations to actually make them more free than you or I. It's about time to acknowledge that in this nation, speech is not free, but is priced at what the market can bear and that corporations have an enormous advantage over true human citizens. If I had to pack the SCOTUS to do this, I would, but I would simply have Congress pass new legislation, and hold a figurative gun to the head of any Congresscritter who felt even the slightest temptation to vote his re-election coffers.

There should be more done, but this is the barebones outline (as I said, I've given this only a little thought) for a bailout plan that rewards human beings for surviving this far, and not faceless corporate entities.