It is worth reflecting, at this time, the arguments of such liberal luminaries as Thomas Paine and John Locke.
I'll paraphrase, and make my point most concise.
Look around you. Do you see cities and highways and skyscrapers and farms and factories and rails and ships?
Do you imagine that all will VANISH unless the Congress lavishes a fortune unprecedented in human history upon a corporate aristocracy whose avaricious mismanagement has created the eve of their collapse?
If we follow the general sense of Locke's observations about the commonwealth in Treatise of Government and Paine's arguments for independence in Common Sense, we can distill an important TRUTH:
People will tend to interact in the ways in which they are accustomed, according to common law, even in the absence of a government.
It is NOT the entire economy which is in jeopardy.
It is the control of the economy, by corporate title holders, which is in jeopardy. The jeopardy is the creation of aristocratic over-reaching. It is the fundamental illegality of aristocratic laws, aristocratic organization, and brazenly anti-republican practices.
I have long argued, in many of my commentaries, against the anti-republican abuses of the corporate charter which we have allowed to mature into a vigorous fascist movement.
Fascism is an ideology whose economic component attempts to resurrect aristocratic theories of law, government and economy through abuses of the corporate charter under republican government. Fascism's aim is to overthrow republican government with a merger of government and corporate power.
We cannot allow this bailout to provide the means for a decisive merger of government and corporate power. I urge people to pay attention to Naomi Klein. Her recent comments about this bailout are right on target and consistent with her observations in her book Shock Doctrine.
NOR DO WE NEED TO DO THAT.
Listen to these people, like John McCain and George Bush, pro-corporate advocates, telling you that unless we allow this abusive subversion of republican government, the current corporate system, to consume extraordinary amounts of OUR CAPITAL, which they have already squandered even before we give it to them, that our entire society will collapse.
They are LIARS.
They have lied to us before, and they are lying to us now.
I'm sure, their inevitable rejoinder will be this one:
"What will you do instead?"
And for many years now, the corporate advocates have given us this same rejoinder. They act as if abuse of the corporate charter is no different than incorporation itself. And they, too, are liars.
A Different, And Better, Solution.
Instead of appropriating the bailout to the Federal Reserve, or the Treasury Secretary, or the President, or some nonexistent commission, I propose that Congress appropriate the bailout to the States, collectively.
And, I propose a different purpose.
Forget about preserving the status quo. Instead, let the state governors and the state attorney generals use the bailout to revoke the charters of the corporations, put them in receivership, disenfranchise the majority share holders, fire the boards and executives, issue new voting shares, limit stakes so that a wide franchise of corporate power is created, and enforce republican reforms of corporate governance (such as the abolishment of multiple corporate title-holding, among other things).
Now, I realize that such a purpose would have to be done deliberately and with checks and balances built into the very process, and that the state governors and state attorney generals cannot accomplish this purpose alone or arbitrarily.
BUT, it might be objected, how will this solve the current crisis? Answer: It won't. It will abolish the means of overthrowing the republic by abuse of the corporate charter.
Here's how I propose solving the current crisis.
In the context of allowing the state governors, collectively and cooperatively, to manage this crisis, I propose that we cancel all mortgages.
Get the lists of property holders, and send them the titles to the properties. Even those in foreclosure. Send them the title. Cancel the debt.
How will that solve the crisis? Because everyone paying a mortgage now would suddenly have all that money in their pocket, and own all equity in their property. Imagine what people would do with that money and equity. It would revive the economy from the bottom up.
There are many details to flesh out, of course. Renters must share in this with dramatically lower rents. Property values would dramatically decline, but, that would really only hurt the wealthy if you reason through it. Don't worry about them. They'll be ok.
What about the majority shareholders? How can we just take their "property" away (shares) without compensation? Answer: They have already been compensated adequately enough.
Corporations are NOT "private property" and they are NOT "just big businesses." They are government-chartered organizations with special legal and financial powers, which we have allowed to evolve into institutions with power over every conceivable interaction in society. It is this lack of understanding about what corporations ARE, and from where they derive power that has led us down this path to the unconstitutional establishment of aristocratic sovereignty.
The states have the power to revoke the charters, reorganize the corporations, reclassify shares, etc. That's what is needed. That's the long term solution.
The People have the authority to establish constitutional bodies. If we are being held for ransom by corporate institutions, which are the children of our child (government), then it's time to re-assert our authority.
Think through some of the situations that would arise from canceling all mortgages. I have. It's all good. Some people might be shorted in equity, but the overwhelming majority of us will be better off, and no one will be ruined. Not even the corporate elite who are crying "the sky is falling!" would be ruined. They will be substantially reduced in status. That's too bad. It's their own fault.