But first, let’s examine a few facts.
History has shown us, time and time again, when there are no restrictions on the accumulations of wealth other than the market itself, recession and/or depression are unavoidable. Capitalism collapses!
Why? Because free-market capitalism creates a climate conducive to greed, encouraging an unbalanced accumulation of capital, which inevitably leads to an economic pattern of boom and bust.
Over the last decade, conservative economic principles and policies, once again, nearly drove us to the depths of another Great Depression.
The truth is, President Obama inherited the worst financial crisis this country had seen since the Great Depression.
When the President took office his first and most urgent task was to stop the financial melt down and prevent the economic collapse from becoming another great depression.
And, he did it!
But not alone. As Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner points out in an article in the Washington Post, titled "Five Myths About TARP" the Troubled Asset Relief Program, "perhaps the most maligned yet most effective government program in recent memory," was not created by President Obama, but was created by a conservative Republican president, George W. Bush and passed by the same Republican congressional leaders who are now denouncing it as a Democratic strategy to assert more government control over the economy.
Despite new evidence about the low ultimate cost and positive impact of the TARP, there is still a chasm between the perceptions of the program and its overwhelmingly favorable effect on the U.S. economy.
The TARP was doomed to be unpopular from inception, because Americans were rightfully angry that the same firms that helped create the economic crisis got taxpayer support to keep their doors open. But the program was essential to averting a second Great Depression, stabilizing a collapsing financial system, protecting the savings of Americans and restoring the flow of credit that is the oxygen of the economy. And it helped achieve all that at a lower cost than anyone expected.
Geithner went on to point out:
Before President Obama took office, the Bush administration committed nearly $300 billion under the TARP, including investments in banks representing more than three-quarters of the entire sector, two of the three big American car companies and AIG. That support was critical to preventing a complete system collapse, but it also represented a level of government involvement in our economy not seen since the Great Depression.
Obama adopted a strategy designed to get the government out of the private sector as quickly as possible. To date, we have recovered more than $200 billion in TARP funds, as well as made $28 billion in profits. Our remaining investments in banks are a small fraction of what we inherited. And, in the end, 90 percent of that once-feared $700 billion TARP price tag either will not have been spent or will be returned to the taxpayers.
We will exit the AIG and automotive industry investments much faster than anyone predicted. General Motors is planning an initial public offering for later this year, and AIG has announced a restructuring plan that will accelerate the timeline for repaying the government.
The TARP is over. And as we put it behind us, it is worth noting that the financial security of all Americans is much stronger today than it would have been without the rescue strategy that the program made possible. It worked.
TARP was created to save us from the consequence of a very devious contrivance, "the sub-prime mortgage scam".
Real estate prices were artificially inflated by encouraging and allowing folks like you and me to buy homes on substandard credit and under terms that now seem not only ridiculous, but criminal.
The resulting mortgages were then fraudulently traded on the market as "AAA" securities.
Inevitably, this sham, like a house of cards, had to crash, and when it did, the economy of the entire world nearly collapsed with it.
Many of us here in the United States, particularly those of us who lost our homes and jobs, were greatly harmed by this calamity.
However, the culprits (the Bush Administration and the Republican controlled congress, all those corrupt conservative politicians and government agency regulators who turned a blind-eye to what was going on, the bankers and mortgage brokers who relaxed their credit rules and wrote all those ridiculous contracts, the rating agencies who lied about the value of all those packaged securities, and yes, the real estate agents who got rich peddling overpriced property to people who clearly could not afford it) remained, for the most part, as always, unscathed. In fact, many of them made out like bandits.
You would think that this economic crisis would cause everyone in congress, Democrats and Republicans, to come and work together, to collectively confront the crisis in a non-partisan and cooperative way. It was obviously a time for statesmanship. Unfortunately, as we all know, Republicans decided to pursue another path, a path of pure partisan politics, becoming the party of obstructionism and no.
The self-described champions of the "free market", the culprits of this catastrophe, remain resolute. Their goals have not changed; they continue to desire and push for lower and lower taxes on their income and investments, while pushing for fewer and fewer regulations on their business interests.
In spite of what this country and the world is now enduring, they have refused to admit or take any responsibility for the economic crisis. Nor have they offered any plausible or new approach to solving our nation’s economic problems. In fact, they have done nothing, except to propose the same old failed policies of the past, the same old conservative philosophy that led to this mess in the first place: trickle-down economics, touting, once again, de-regulation for Wall Street and corporate America.
Unfortunately, according to the polls, the massive negative “message repetition” by the GOP, assisted by their far-right media machine and their corporate cronies, has, once again, triumphed over the facts.
It is amazing how easily ignorance and fear can be used to manipulate and hoodwink large constituencies into disregarding their own health, happiness and well-being for the benefit of the well-connected and the well-to-do.
Is it, I wonder, really possible, after what these lying scumbags did to all of us during the Bush years, for the American people to hand them the reins, again?