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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thank George

For at least the next four years, if the Republicans object to the socialization of America, the Democrats will have a built in excuse:

"What are you talking about? Bush is the one who started us on the path to socialism when he bailed out Wall Street."

And they'll be right.

The Wall Street bailout originally seemed a necessary evil. After all, if the credit markets aren't operating, the whole country comes grinding to a standstill. Now that it has emerged that some of the rescue money may be going towards bonuses, that the original plan to buy bad mortgages has been abandoned, and that lending is still very tight, it's not so clear.

One thing that is clear is that if you're going to give money to the richest group of people in the country, it's hard to justify not giving it to everyone else.

The problem is, under Obama's plan, the group the bulk of the money is going to go to -- the construction industry -- has always been a festering mass of corruption, thanks in large part to the mob. And you just know that Obama's plan, instead of being a strictly regulated plan with honest competing bids, is going to turn into a Pandora's Box of who's got the right political connections, who can hire a minority frontman the quickest, and who knows how to grease the right palms.

Rebuilding the infrastructure may create some jobs, but it's the Rod Blagojeviches of this world who will really profit from this enterprise.

But once again, it's not as if Wall Street was any better: all the mortgage bankers eagerly selling subprime loans to people who were never going to be able to pay them back, then all the investment bankers then turning those loans into toxic collateralized debt obligations. The traders who inflated the credit default swap market to the point where Wall Street turned into a cannibalistic frenzy. All the hedge fund managers who turned out not to know what they were doing. Not even to mention the outright scammers like Bernard Madoff.

And away from Wall Street, the Republicans awarded those noncompete contracts to Halliburton and Blackwater over in Iraq.

All of which takes much of the steam out of any Republican protest that revving up the construction industry is going to create a big mess.

It's not as if the Democrats have come out of the past four years looking good either. Barney Frank was the one who erected a roadblock when McCain tried to investigate the types of loans that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were purchasing. And plenty of Wall Street titans were Democrats.

Still, it all happened under a Republican adminstration. And that is going to give the Democrats all the excuse they need to turn this country into Yugoslavia circa 1975.

Rod Blagojevich's only problem was that he came along at the wrong time.

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