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MARX: A HERO FOR OUR TIME? — Suddenly, everyone from the Wall Street Journal to Rolling Stone seems to be talking about Karl Marx. Louis Proyect delves into this mysterious resurgence, giving a vivid assessment of Marx’s relevance in the era of globalized capitalism. THE MEANING OF MANDELA: Longtime civil rights organizer Kevin Alexander Gray gives in intimate portrait of Nelson Mandela and the global struggle of racial justice. FALLOUT OVER FUKUSHIMA: Peter Lee investigates the scandalous exposure of sailors on board the USS Reagan to radioactive fallout from Fukushima. SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT: Kim Nicolini charts the rise of Matthew McConaughey. PLUS: Mike Whitney on the coming crash of the housing market. JoAnn Wypijewski on slavery, torture and revolt. Chris Floyd on the stupidity of US policy in Ukraine. Kristin Kolb on musicians and health care. And Jeffrey St. Clair on life and death on the mean streets of an America in decline
Are We Getting Our Money's Worth?

The Real Cost of the Bailout

by KEVIN ZEESE

$7.6 trillion.

That is what Bloomberg reports has been committed on behalf of the American taxpayer to bailout America’s finance system. This includes spending by the Treasury, Federal Reserve and FDIC.

- The amount is equal to half the value of everything produced in the United States last year.

– It is $24,000 for every man, woman and child in America, that is nearly $100,000 for a family of four.

– It’s nine times what the U.S. has spent so far on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

– It is enough money to pay off more than half the country’s mortgages, but bankruptcies have continued despite the bailout.

We do not even know where all of those funds have gone. The taxpayer is putting up a King’s ransom and not being told who is receiving it. We guarantee the debts of banks and are not being told what collateral is provided or who is receiving the funds. Before receiving the bailout funds, Treasury Secretary Paulsen promised transparency. But, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke says that such transparency would be "counterproductive."

All of this money and yet foreclosures, bankruptcy and unemployment are all up; the stock market, consumer spending and housing prices are down. Pouring tax dollars into banks is not working.

We don’t know where the bottom is yet, see no evidence that the bailout is working and already, as Barry Ritholtz, author of "Bailout Nation," points out, the bailout has cost more than Marshall Plan, Louisiana Purchase, moonshot, S&L bailout, Korean War, New Deal, the Iraq war, the Vietnam war, and NASA’s lifetime budget – COMBINED! In fact, the bailout is almost double:

- Marshall Plan: Cost: $12.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $115.3 billion

– Louisiana Purchase: Cost: $15 million, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $217 billion

– Race to the Moon: Cost: $36.4 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $237 billion

– S&L Crisis: Cost: $153 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $256 billion

– Korean War: Cost: $54 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $454 billion

– The New Deal: Cost: $32 billion (Est), Inflation Adjusted Cost: $500 billion (Est)

– Invasion of Iraq: Cost: $551 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $597 billion

-Vietnam War: Cost: $111 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $698 billion

– NASA: Cost: $416.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $851.2 billion

TOTAL: $3.92 trillion

You’d think for $7.7 trillion we’d get health care for all, tax relief or free college education! But Americans got none of that. Is this a wise use of tax dollars? Are there better ways to use this money? Will this trickle down approach work this time, even though it has failed in the past?

We’re doing two things:

First we are working to break the bailout. Join us at BreakTheBailout.com and pledge to help Break the Bailout. On December 7, we take the first step toward taking back our economy and transforming it into an economy that puts the people’s interests first. Pledge today and help build a movement that will stop the top down trickled down Wall Street economics and build the economy from the bottom up.

Second, we will be putting forward a Prosperity Agenda – a vision of what kind of economy America should have and then we will be advocating for it. We would like your thoughts on what you want out of the economy. We are a crossroads where a new energy economy is going to be developed. How should it be different than the current economy? Give me your thoughts at KZeese@earthlink.net.

Acting alone, we can achieve nothing; acting together, we can change everything. We need to act together because change is urgently needed.