On February 24, 2005, I clicked on the evening news to see President Bush finishing his European tour in Slovakia, surrounded by children waving little American flags. It had the feel of a Macy’s holiday window designed by Karl Rove. I recalled a recent news item about Slovakia. Just two months prior to the President’s visit, Slovakia initiated a plan to divert nine per cent of worker’s wages into private investment accounts laden with corporate stocks and bonds as an alternative to a government run social security program.
This was similar to a plan that President Bush had peddled under the banner of the “ownership society.” Fortunately, this was one of the rare occasions when the President was rebuked by Congress.
Today in the U.S., with both corporate bonds and stocks suffering massive losses and over $2 trillion of taxpayers’ dollars doled out by the Federal Reserve to shore up Wall Street firms in various stages of insolvency, we finally grasp the true meaning of “the ownership society:” the Wall Street execs absconded with the so-called profits; the little people own the losses; the next generation owns the bailout debt. This scheme makes Ponzi artist Bernie Madofflook like a piker.