On Thursday, John Amato of Crooks and Liars interviewed Naomi Klein, author of the critically-acclaimed book The Shock Doctrine. Klein and Amato spoke about the proposed $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill and its potential political implications.
Klein’s basic thesis, as articulated in her book, is that economic conservatives (particularly those who subscribe to Milton Friedman’s theories) often use the shock of a disaster to implement free market “shock therapy,” which typically involves massive deregulation, large-scale privatization of government services (benefiting the wealthy at the expense of the middle class), and the elimination of social programs.
The interview runs a little less than 20 minutes, and though the audio is a little scratchy, it’s still worth hearing in its entireity.
I wonder what Klein thinks about McCain’s statement that the government should consider a “spending freeze” (except for defense and veterans), because it certainly seems to fit nicely into the framework she sets up.
It’s also noteworthy, as Klein points out, that Obama’s healthcare plan (which has often been described by conservatives as exorbitantly expensive and maligned as “socialism”) would cost just as much as our unilateral and immediate bailout of the insurance giant AIG: $85 billion. Throughout my entire life, I’ve heard conservatives mock the notion of universal healthcare, often casting the idea as unrealistically expensive and burdensome. And yet, last week, without any debate or real discussion, taxpayers provided a private company $85 billion.
this is one area i hate mccain in. this is why he is barely getting the conservative vote. he shouldnt be for the bail out of these companies at all. i think there are alot better ways to approach this than to throw taxpayers money at it, while handing complete control of all decision making to the treasurer? pleeease. A thing ive learned since i was young is when you make make a bed you lie in it. Let em fail. Put the people who caused the failure on a silver platter , unable to get a job anywhere. Instead of giving companies money, start from the bottom. The government cant be a part of the private sector. It doesnt work. Social Security, Public Schools, and Medicare are some prime examples of what our government is capable of doing when they make the rules in a program. All horrible failures. I shiver at the thought of the government, republican, democrat or otherwise, pulling the strings on this one.
Umm… Social Security, Medicare, and public schools are not horrible failures by any means. Are they flawed? Sure, but obviously, as we witnessed today and all of last week, so is the deregulated private sector.
Using the shock of this disaster to de-fund those necessary and important programs and institutions is, without a doubt, the worst possible outcome– the definition of the shock doctrine.
That said, as evidenced in my post above, I also have some strong objections to the nature of the bail-out– though, I think if we can objectively determine that it is necessary and will ensure longer-term solvency, then we must do what we have to in order to protect people’s pensions, retirements, and savings.
Incidentally, I think that if anyone wants to blame a “speech” on the failure of this bill, then the Democrats need to use the power of their majority and craft a bill that denies a massive bailout to Wall Street and intercedes directly into the real problems, a targeted and multifaceted bill that intervenes in Main Street and reinstates much-needed regulation.
If House Republicans believe they can score political points by rejecting an obviously-needed, vetted, and “bipartisan” bill, then the Democrats should respond with a bill they can pass without those House Republicans (who are obviously without a real leader). This is a crisis we cannot afford to neglect, and we should not allow election year pandering and posturing to prevent us from crafting a solution.
Text of Nancy Pelosi’s speech, which some ridiculous pundits and Republican “leaders” are now blaming for not passing this legislation: