Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Economics and Confusion

Thinking further about the economic issues that I touched on in my last post, it's so hard to get one's brain around what's happening here in the U.S. this week. With such dire news and warnings of financial Armageddon, how does one tease out the truth from all of the hyperbole?

Articles abound about what will happen if the bailout doesn't pass. Blame is passed from hand to hand. But where do we ordinary citizens fit in? What do we stand to lose or gain in the process?

Economics is one area where this nurse is most weak when it comes to understanding the bigger picture. Understanding my own personal economy is difficult enough. But I just can't stop thinking that many of the people in need of a bailout themselves are going to be left in the dust no matter what happens.

Whether we look at the notion of fighting poverty, rejecting what seems like a rescue of Wall Street, or using that $700 billion to help Americans keep the homes they are about to lose, there is enough confusion and different versions of "the Truth" to keep us all reeling from a dose of 21st century financial vertigo.

At this time in history, there are intelligent arguments in favor of nationalized healthcare, while Americans are going into bankruptcy just to pay for healthcare they can't afford but literally can't live without. Meanwhile, many people are losing their homes in record numbers and Wall Street speculators and investment banks look to the federal government to rescue them from their own excesses.

So, where is the bailout for the thousands of poor Gulf Coast residents who lost their homes and have still not been able to return home?

Where is the bailout for first responders disabled in the aftermath of 9/11 and unable to return to work and normal life?

Where is the bailout for the homeless, the uninsured children, the wrongly incarcerated, the disenfranchised, the disabled?

Where are the reparations for slavery? For Native Americans?

These are just some of the questions that come to mind as the sum of $7 billion is bandied about so blithely.

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