I Have a Better Idea . . . . .

Since we're looking at a $700 Billion Bailout, I thought I'd be helpful and offer some suggestions.

I think that I have a better idea than handing one man $700 billion dollars, while agreeing that "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."

Actually, I think I have THREE better ideas.

Better Idea #1: The Keep It Simple Stupid Idea

Since we're talking 700 Billion dollars, and there are nearly 7 billion people on the planet, how about we just go Absolute Deregulation on their asses? -- Give every single human on the planet 100 dollars and let them do whatever the fuck they want with it.

Now, the current estimated world population is only 6.725 billion as of this month, so, rather than fight over that remaining $27.5, maybe we could do something else with that -- let me think . . . . oh . . . . like, having a huge fuck-off party!

OK, now I realize that this KISS approach may be too "Act Globally, Think Universally" for some of you, so I have a couple of other ideas -- especially if you think that it would be unfair for US taxpayers to have to foot the bill for the whole world's sudden multi-billionaire status. I have to say that some part of me agrees that, even though we will all be multi-billionaires, too, each of us USofA tax-payin' citizens would have to part with $2,324.50 of our new-found wealth to pay for this approach, and that would just not be fair.

If you want to "keep US wealth in the US", my other two Better Ideas might be more palatable for you -- and they're both actually based in another KISS principle -- How about we just obey United States law?

Since legal precedent generally treats a corporation like an individual, and some corporations are teetering on the edge of financial ruin, why don't we just treat them like individuals?

We happen to have a couple of ways of dealing with some of the individuals who are in financial distress in our country.

For those in debt who want a "new start", we have Bankruptcy. For those who can't seem to make it on their own at the moment, we have Welfare.

So, for those who worry that Better Idea #1 smacks too strongly of Oh-Noes!-Teh-Socialism!!, I invite you to consider:

Better Idea #2 -- Bankruptcy:

This'll be easy! We even have a handy-dandy new bankruptcy law -- barely three years old! It's designed to help those in financial distress become more Responsible[tm] about how they handle their $$, and stop misusing the bankruptcy process! Doesn't that sound all warm and friendly and fiscally responsible and shit?

If we simply follow the 2005 law --

First, the troubled individual corporation will have to pass a means test, to be certain that they can qualify for a straight Chapter 7 bankruptcy. They will have to prove that they don't make more than the median income in their state.

What's that? You say that some of these corporations are incorporated in many (if not all) states? Oopsy! Well, let's just say that we take the average of all the corporations in all the states that they're incorporated in. That seems fair.

If they pass the median income test, they have to go to mandatory credit counseling, and then file Chapter 7, but any tax-debt, student-loan debt, fines incurred for violating the law, or debts incurred through fraud will have to be paid back. Properties that secured debts will have to be returned to the creditors.

If they don't pass the means test, they will have to file Chapter 13, and make monthly payments over a five-year period to repay their debt.

What's that? You say that the corporation itself doesn't have any money, because the CEOs and consultants and other high-level folks took all the money and are personally indemnified against the corporation's debt or mismanagement? Oopsy!

Whatever will we do with these naughty, naughty corporations? They can't pay a thing, poor dears, and they're penniless! Penniless, I tell you!

Well, I suppose that leaves us only:

Better Idea #3: Welfare

OK -- fine -- everybody makes mistakes. But don't worry, we're here to help -- of course, you'll need to do what everyone else who wants welfare has to do:

Depending on what state you're in, you can only have $1000-3000 worth of assets (including cash, checking/savings, stocks, bonds, IRAs, and 401ks). Since the corporation may be in many states, let's split the diff and say $2000 as an assets-cap. The corp can keep: (one) house, (one) car, a burial plot and up to $1500 in pre-paid funeral home accounts, and any assets that cannot be turned into cash. Maybe the CEOs can move in togther in the one house -- and they can car-pool.

Oops -- I forgot -- the CEOs are not the corporation, and they get to keep their houses, and cars, and yachts, and planes. And cash. And stocks. And bonds and IRAs and 401ks.

But on with this welfare thingy -- First, Mr. Corporation has to fill out an application, and wait. And wait. And wait.

What's that, Mr. Corporation? You're in trouble right now? Bummer. The wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly!

Well, now that I'm looking over your case-file, you might qualify for emergency food-stamps. (maximum benefit $155/month -- average $86/month). Maybe that'll help.

What's that? You're not feeling well, Mr. Corporation? Well, here's an application for medicaid. I'll warn you though -- it takes about 3 years for the approval. What? You're dying now? Bummer. The wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly!

Oh -- and just a reminder, Mr. Corporation -- *stern tone* --you have to report any change in your income to us immediately -- and if you don't, you may have to pay back any benefits that you may eventually qualify for. We may also schedule periodic home visits to check up on you.

What's that?

, you don't get a five-year advance on your welfare checks . . . .
, not even a three-month advance . . . . .
Well, Mr. Corporation, I hear that things are looking very grim for you right now, but . . . . yes, I understand that sir, and I've done all that I can do for you right now . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
lookit, Mr. Corporation!, nothing is going to be helped by you yelling at me! If you're approved, you'll get your check when everyone else gets their check, and I'll advise you to just go home now and I will get back to you if there's any change in your case!!!!!

(This dramatization brought to you by someone who has sat on both sides of the desk at the welfare office.)

So, I guess we're probably back to Better Idea #1, huh? Sounds more fun to me, anyway.
(Fair Warning for the hard-of-humor: Although I actually do think that all of the ideas I've listed above would probably be better than one currently being offered by the Treasury Dept., I have no illusion that my suggestions will ever be taken seriously, and so, have not bothered to work out the actual practical details. If you try to take me to task for this in comments, I will laugh derisively at you and then immediately begin reciting my rather excellent marinade for Irish babies.)

[crossposted at Teh Portly Dyke]

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