Neel Kashkari, formerly VP at Goldman Sachs, formerly director of the popular TARP bank bailout program that stole $700 Billion from taxpayers and rescued the banks and the banking class from their own stupidity, has some advice for the taxpaying middle class: stop being so selfish and get ready to sacrifice for the common good.
In a truly remarkable piece written for WaPo, Mr. Kashkari opines blithely about the need for the American people to forget about feeling “entitled” to the money they’ve poured into Social Security and other programs. Now that all the available money on planet Earth has been sucked up by the banks, there’s none left for anyone else, so get over it. The government doesn’t have any more money and it’s time for cuts; guess where?
- The fiscal crisis in Europe has awoken Americans to the enormous challenge we face from entitlements. The promises our country has made over the past few decades, combined with changing demographics and rising costs, have put us on a path to national insolvency.
- But this “me first” mentality can also lead to shortsighted political decision making…Cutting entitlement spending requires us to think beyond what is in our own immediate self-interest. But it also runs against our sense of fairness: We have, after all, paid for entitlements for earlier generations. Is it now fair to cut my benefits? No, it isn’t. But if we don’t focus on our collective good, all of us will suffer.
- In 2008, during the most severe financial crisis in 80 years, Republican and Democratic leaders in Washington came together to do something deeply unpopular: bail out the financial system via the Troubled Assets Relief Program. These leaders understood the consequence of inaction was economic devastation for Americans. Passing TARP was the right thing to do.
- The challenge of entitlements is more difficult than the financial crisis
- …bailing out the financial system went directly against our shared beliefs in free markets and fair play. While the vast majority of Americans did not cause the financial crisis, we all had to sacrifice to stop it.
See? It was obvious to him that we had to bail out the banks; the decision was easy. It went against “our” shared beliefs but we did it anyway, in spite of all of us out here in the hinterlands opposing it.
I am not defending entitlement spending; we all know it is out of control and unsustainable. But Mr. Kashkari’s attitude reveals his own sense of entitlement. According to him, the banks had to be bailed out, and he is a banker. Mr. Kashkari and his banker buddies’ lifestyles at the top of the heap are thus assured, and as you can see from the above, he is convinced they deserve it. The rest of us should get ready for sacrifice.
There will be no true fiscal accountability while the TBTFs exist. Another taxpayer-financed bailout is always just around the corner. FinReg does not prevent future bailouts. The TBTFs have actually gotten larger since the crisis began. If they were TBTF before the crisis, what are they now?
Austerity for the middle class, and subsidized profits and endless free money for the banks. I guarantee it.