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The biggest rip-off in human history

The bank bailout one year later...

Oct. 15 was a day of revealing statistics and facts.

Led by soaring bank stock prices, the Dow Jones average hit the magic 10,000 number. High fives all around Wall Street.

The bankers at Goldman Sachs also announced that their bonus and compensation package for 2009 would be as high, or possibly higher, than the $20 billion they doled out to themselves in 2008. Thank you, taxpayers!

It was also announced that the lobbyists for the biggest bankers had spent $200 million to convince members of Congress not to tighten regulations on the banks and their compensation packages. How did those troubled, insolvent and bailed out banks come up with a whopping $200 million to “lobby” elected officials? Again, a big shout-out to the taxpayers!

Oct. 15 brought forth some other statistics about how society’s other half—or the other 99 percent, really—are faring. The official unemployment rate has hit 9.8 percent. This stunning figure does not account for workers who are not eligible for unemployment benefits, have exhausted their benefits or are under employed. According to the AFL-CIO, the real unemployment figure nationally is closer to 17 percent or 26 million workers.

In some cities and communities, the unemployment rate is far higher. Michigan’s unemployment rate officially stands at 15.2 percent through the gutting of the auto industry and union busting that has continued through the current administration. Some cities like Highland Park, Mich., are at 36.4 percent official unemployment.

The government that gave the bankers $9.5 trillion in bailout funds and loan guarantees, with no strings attached or any oversight over how those funds would be spent, released its report on how the “stimulus package” was doing for job creation.

Thanks to the federal stimulus money, the number of jobs that were created or “saved” in Michigan was a grand total of 400. Four hundred—wow!

Nevada, the state with the next highest unemployment rate, reported 159 jobs created or “saved” from the stimulus package. Another big wow!

Rhode Island, the state with the third highest unemployment rate, 12.8 percent officially, reported six jobs—yes, six—were created or “saved” thanks to the bailout money from the federal government.

In the same month the White House released a report in September that the economy is turning the corner, another 263,000 jobs were lost and workers continue to suffer one of the worst job markets in over 25 years. For every open job, there are six job seekers.

As unemployment continues to roar through working-class communities, the foreclosure crisis is starting to bleed into the prime mortgage markets. It is expected that another 5 million families will lose their homes this year due to foreclosures, while 20 million homes sit empty and apartment vacancies are at a 20-year high.

Despite the continued unemployment, health care, housing and budget crises, the capitalists and their representatives in the White House and Congress claim the recession is showing signs of easing. Some of this optimism is based on short-term stimuli like the “cash for clunkers” program and the tax credit for new homebuyers that temporarily caused growth in certain areas that will most likely not sustain itself.

While the recession may be easing for parts of the capitalist class, working people continue to feel the worst effects of the capitalist economic crisis. The bank bailout, which will certainly go down as the biggest rip-off in human history, has just added insult to injury.

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