So the Treasury has a trillion dollars that's burning a hole in its pocket. Hank Paulson wants to give it all to his golfing buddies, no strings attached.
A trillion bucks, huh? That's a whole lotta scratch.
Keeping the financial markets stable is a nice idea. I'm no economist, but as someone who is vested in the markets and who would like to retire someday, I can see the value in that. I'm just not sure that it's the best way to spend that cash, ot that it's even really necessary. I thought the beauty of free markets was how resiliant they are supposed to be, right?
It's a funny statement on the political discourse in this country that if anyone proposed taking a trillion dollars and doing anything other than giving it to really rich people (or spending it on an awesome war), they would be ridiculed as non-serious people. But there are a lot of other priorities that might be better served by that sort of expenditure. For example, if we chose to dedicate that trillion dollars not towards the health of our markets, but towards the health of the American people, we could:
- Keep medicare solvent for another ten years
- Enact and pay for Obama's near-universal health care plan for five years (without any tax increase)
- Double the compensation of primary care doctors
- And still have enough left over to invest in rebuilding the nation's ERs to accomodate possible disasters such as pandemic flu or bioterrorism.