Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Main Street" Economics

While I'm loathe to post about the "bailout" (or "rescue" or whatever they're calling it these days to make us feel better) the simple fact is that it is the most fitting example and practical application of the economic ideas we have been discussing in class.  That being said, I'll try to tackle an angle other than just the bailout itself: the idea that the general public has no idea what the hell it wants or needs in regards to the plan, or lack thereof, but the armchair economist is looking for someone to blame.

Anchors, pundits, analysts, and presidential hopefuls are all fond of regurgitating the "Wall Street vs. Main Street" scenario, casting the two as arch economic rivals (bourgeois and proletariats?  Socialism?), eternally locked in a duel of wits, attempting to see who can outsmart whom, and how much each can make the other pay for it.  This characterization, which Senator Obama is especially fond of using, allows those using it to create an invisible but inescapable division between we plebes on Main and the Dom Perignon quaffing, caviar guzzling, yacht sailing elites that run Wall Street.

Or so the talking heads would have you believe.

In the eyes of this admitted denizen of Main Street, the only difference between those that have been demonized and me is that they're just much, much better at what they do.  Well, and they've been at it a little longer maybe.  The idea that "rich" people are "bad" people, though comforting, is completely absurd.  Unfortunately for the more level headed, or just Eubanks educated, among us, current events lend this idiotic world view even more credence.  With a bailout plan that continues a long standing tradition of interventionalist economic policy poised to pass in the near future, it might be prudent to examine why exactly the Main Streeters are willing to get behind it rank and file.  Is it truly that we feel the only way to right the troubled ship of our economy is to turn it over in its entirety to the government?  Is it that we really do fully believe a $700,000,000,000 Band-aid placed on a gaping, gangrenous wound will make it better?  Or is it, as a class mate mentioned today, that the Main Street "economist"  is really just interested in his "bread and the circus," in a good old fashioned bloodletting where we toss those dastardly Wall Streeters into the pit and watch the lions tear them to pieces? We all like to blame people, and no one likes a parachute made of gold (how would that be of any use anyway?!) but is revenge a valid basis for happily (ignorantly?) skipping down the path to Socialism?

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