Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Cut the Wall Street Welfare Queens Loose!

Posted in Capitalism, Economy by allisonkilkenny on September 22, 2008

Ronald Reagan was the best liar.

Yes, George W. Bush’s lies have had far more dire consequences, and Karl Rove is master of the brutish smear campaign, but no one matches Reagan’s stylized lies. He made you feel like you were the only other person in the room when he lied right to your face.

Take, for example, Reagan’s famous “Chicago Welfare Queen” story that he used to illustrate the dangers of a socialized welfare system. He was loosely referencing a story about a welfare recipient in Chicago, who was publicly exposed in 1977 for having defrauded state welfare programs out of $8,000 by using two identities.

Never one to let the truth get in the way of a good yarn, Reagan turned the news report into a heartwarming tale of a “Welfare Queen” who cruised around in a Cadillac and collected an annual tax-free income of $150,000 by using “eighty names, thirty addresses, twelve Social Security cards and…collecting veterans’ benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands.”

Reagan repeated this story to anyone who would listen. He did so with a folksy charm that put people at ease and many bought into the Welfare Queen smear. They ignored Reagan’s legendary tendency to prevaricate. Like a quasi-racist relative drunkenly ranting at the Thanksgiving dinner table, Regan had everyone nodding along even though he was exaggerating some details to fit his preconceived notions of minorities.

If only the old bastard lived long enough to see the Bush administration’s baby, the misshapen, inbred offspring of Cronyism and Deregulation . If Reagan’s fuses blew at the first sign of a hungry black woman, imagine what would have happened to his Swiss cheese brain when the first CEO came knocking at his door for a hand-out.

Or maybe he would have been happy to lend his fellow rich, white people a couple (or 700 billion) bucks. After all, Neo-Conservatives are fine with Socialism as long as the right kinds of people are receiving the hand-outs. They love sharing, but only if the sharing concerns debt, and the taxpayers are the ones sharing it.

Yet they hoard profit among themselves, which is why they want Paulson to push through this bailout as quickly as humanly possible. Heaven forbid any kind of deal can be constructed that involves taxpayers getting their money back, or maybe even getting a slice of profit if the economy can somehow rebound from this disaster.

If Congress gets to debate this thing, they may…ya’ know…remember they’re working for the American people and try to stop the Wall Street crooks from raiding the Federal Reserve.

My advice to our representatives in Congress is to deliberate long and hard about this ridiculous scam Paulson is laughably trying to pass off as fiscal solvency. It’s good for no one except the Wall Street Welfare Queens, who have come looking for a hand-out from the government.

Gee, but I thought the big, bad government was the thing repressing their entrepreneurial spirit by demanding regulation and oversight. Of course, a little accountability may have circumvented this disaster. What’s the word for all that regulation and oversight and accountability in government?

Oh yeah! Conservatism.

Now, more than ever, we need the Republicans to flex that Conservative muscle they’re always bragging about. Wall Street tycoons don’t get to come in, borrow $700 billion, and run off without making some really specific promises. For example:

1. The taxpayers they’re borrowing get to own some stock in the performances of the banks and companies they’re about to save.

2. If our tax dollars go toward bailing out foreign banks, then foreign capital better flow back into our economy. I hear that’s how the “natural” ebb and flow of the immaculate Free Trade agreements are supposed to work, but it may take some extra muscle from our government to ensure it actually happens.

3. No do-overs. We got to see unfettered Capitalism do its thing. It sucks, and it doesn’t work. This doesn’t mean everything switches to a Socialist regime, so that hysterical talking point needs to die. All we need is regulation.

While Reagan exaggerated the story of the Chicago Welfare Queen, there are real welfare leeches in our presence. They’re the least needy, and they’re in trouble now because of their shady economic policies. They don’t get to set the agenda now that they’re reaping what they sowed.

As Reagan would say: No Free Rides, people.

2 Responses

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  1. GetFeisty said, on September 22, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    Nice piece. We can’t let short memory stop us from recalling this ‘welfare’ icon.
    And we can’t let confused pundits attack some of those that abuse and ignore the really big fish.

    I don’t get why people speak so kindly of Ronnie, I know he’s dead and all, but that doesn’t mean that he some kind of national hero.

    Reagan “made you feel like you were the only other person in the room when he lied right to your face.”

    I would add “and selling weapons to terrorist and paramilitary groups”

    I have been thinking that the major difference between Clinton and W was that Clinton restrained himself a bit so that you didn’t realize that someone was giving it to you up the bum as he shook your hand and gave you a smile, while W skips the handshake and the smile and straight-up tells you to turn around and drop trou.

    You have helped me add a facet to that lil thought.

  2. Shonda Little said, on September 22, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    I had a nice talk with a conservative on Saturday who still believed that the free markets exist. You and I know that is bullshit and they haven’t for a long time, even before this.


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