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the business of bailouts.
by richard s risman

With all of the bailouts we're seeing these days, it's no wonder people are thinking of the "D" word (Depression) in the back of their minds. Just ask anyone who is behind on their mortgages or other debts. Or ask someone who is unemployed. Or those who suffer from both. The war in Iraq, aside from the terrible human cost which can never be measured, carried costs greatly resented by many Americans. That cost, of billions of dollars per month, is now a relatively small problem or worry compared to the planned government bailouts for banking, brokerage houses, and insurance companies. Those costs are expected to exceed $500 billion, and could approach one trillion dollars, or approximately 20% of the entire national debt. A running annual budget deficit of up to $300 billion, roughly three yers' worth of Iraq war financing, is one thing. Now, the national debt has reached even more crushing levels. And who is pay for these bailouts? Taxpayers. Service of such a huge debt will ievitably raise taxes, as was the case when the Resolution Trust Company was formed to bail out the savings and loans banks in the 1980s. In fact, this time around, it is expected to have a greater impact on taxpayers. It will be interesting to see how each of the presidential candidates, who promise lower taxes, guns and butter, will address this problem in sound bites or in debates. The economy has been the elephant in the room for some time now in that national debate; now, it is a wooly mammoth from the past that they must address.


b. 1960, still alive

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