What was prevented?

Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story includes a speech by President George W. Bush, September 24, 2008, in which he says:

The government’s top economic experts warn that, without immediate action by Congress, America could slip into a financial panic and a distressing scenario would unfold.

More banks could fail, including some in your community. The stock market would drop even more, which would reduce the value of your retirement account. The value of your home could plummet. Foreclosures would rise dramatically.

And if you own a business or a farm, you would find it harder and more expensive to get credit. More businesses would close their doors, and millions of Americans could lose their jobs.

Even if you have good credit history, it would be more difficult for you to get the loans you need to buy a car or send your children to college. And, ultimately, our country could experience a long and painful recession.

Fellow citizens, we must not let this happen. I appreciate the work of leaders from both parties in both houses of Congress to address this problem and to make improvements to the proposal my administration sent to them.

Looking at this passage from President Bush’s speech explaining giving at least $700 billion to the financial secretary, I just thought it worth noting that all of the things that Bush said action would prevent from happening happened anyway. We did experience financial panic. Banks failed, both huge institutions and many more community banks. The stock market dropped (though it’s now back). Foreclosures were and are epidemic. Businesses closed and even today we have over 14 million people unemployed. It’s hard for individuals and small businesses to get loans. And we are in the midst of a long and painful recession. Oh and instead of $700 billion, more realistic explanations of all the various ways the federal government bailed out Wall Street banks is closer to $13 trillion dollars. The only thing that was prevented was the degradation of Wall Street profits and bonuses. Not only did this fail to come with the preservation of an economy that worked for the bottom 99% of America, but it didn’t even come in exchange for a meaningful increase in regulation and oversight of the financial industry. What an epic, hurtful, damning disaster.

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