The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

What the bailout money could buy

Oct 20, 2008

Since the financial crisis began, the Bush administration, Federal Reserve and Congress have committed almost one-and-a-half trillion dollars of our tax money to the same Wall Street bankers, speculators and corporate tycoons who created the crisis. Some of the most noted of the government bailout operations went to Bear Stearns (29 billion dollars), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (200 billion dollars), AIG (123 billion dollars) and the 700 billion dollar Paulson plan to buy up bad debt from financial and other companies.

So what could one-and-a-half trillion dollars buy, if it were spent on things that ordinary people and the general society need? According to the National Priorities Project, it could buy all of the following:

  • 4 years of health care for all the 50 million people in the U.S. who are currently uninsured;
  • 2 million affordable housing units;
  • New or rebuilt schools to replace all substandard schools in the U.S.;
  • 4 years pay for one million additional public school teachers;
  • Repair or replacement of all 77,000 deteriorated U.S. bridges.

By using this money to bail out a tiny handful of already incredibly wealthy bankers and financiers, the government is putting their fortunes ahead of the interests of everybody else.