The Despised Commons Saved Wall Street

The commons are always demonized as "communist" and idealistic whenever there is a general welfare benefit from its existence. But once it can be monetized and seized for the benefit of the few, suddenly, as the "commons of the few," it becomes sacred. And in the case of the 2008 crash, when the "few" screwed it up, it was to the general commons--in this case the treasury--that these turned for succor. No Wall Street mogul decried taxes while they were receiving their socialistic handout and rewarding their cleverness with continuing bonuses.

The argument for privatization is always that it makes things more productive. Yet in the crash of 2008, one wholly constructed by those who controlled capital markets, the General Accounting Office puts the loss of economic output at $13 trillion and of homeowner losses at another $9 trillion. So what we had here was the anti-matter of productivity.

Did they dig their way out with their own private tools inside their own private compounds? No, they turned to the US Treasury, the commons of tax revenue.

The supreme irony is that these very same moguls who begged for relief, making private loss public, simultaneously wailed that implementing Dodd-Frank, legislation designed to prevent another collapse, would "be too expensive." Not $22 trillion expensive, mind you, but it might reduce some of their net worth from many billions to slightly a fraction of a billion less.