It seems that everyone has their hand out these days – bankers, auto companies, homeowners, the unemployed. In each case a rational argument can be made for helping these people deal with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
But since this country is already in debt up to its eyeballs and billions and billions of dollars are already being spent on bailouts and stimulus packages, the question now becomes who do we help, or more precisely should we pick and choose who to help? To borrow a medical term, should we engage in a kind of political triage?
The Bush administration’s triage approach was to bailout the banks and the auto companies and to stay away from the Main Street homeowners and unemployed workers. Obama seems to be taking every opportunity to bash the banks, pressure the automakers and concentrate on average Americans who are losing their homes, their jobs and their futures.
If this political triage is looked at from the perspective of history, in the last eight years the W. and his conservative supporters went out of their way to shun regulation, cut taxes at the high end, and side with big business. Middle class Americans got a few crumbs and when the crash came they saw most of their savings go down the drain.
Now with Obama it appears that the new administration is looking at the national economy and its impact on Americans from a new perspective. This is long overdue. The members of the middle class are capitalists too, in fact they are the heart and soul of our capitalist system. So why not give them stricter regulatory rules that protects their assets, tax cuts that make their lives more secure and a shift of attention toward their needs and their future?
The conservative right always moans and groans about class warfare and how providing benefits to the middle class at the expense of the wealthy business class is somehow anti-American. This argument is just shorthand for continuing the failed policies of helping the rich at the expense of everyone else.
So let’s try something new in this economy. Let’s save the little guy and gal; let’s build up their nest egg; let’s give them a few breaks. After all, the little guys and gals of Main Street are the one’s who will ultimately get us out of this mess, not the bankers on Wall Street.