If for some reason you haven't done so already, you need to read David Sirota's "The $700 Billion Questions." Seriously. I'd also recommend Chris Hayes' post that explains what's going on with this plan as explicitly and simply as possible: "[T]his is nothing more than an attempt to use panic and fear (much of which is warranted) to transfer a gobsmacking amount of public money into private hands. That's the only way the Paulson proposal makes any sense." I'd also second Hayes' point that Obama's reaction to this plan is tremendously crucial (if he caves, you can commence thinking of his message of "change" as a nice, soothing lullaby, something to make the final takeover of this country by oligarchs and plutocrats a little more palatable). As is the response of all members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans. This package (in its current state) is so offensive to democracy and common sense that it basically destroys the left-right political divide. I plan on getting in touch with my representative and senators to express my outrage, and I encourage you to do the same. Because if this fucking giveaway passes while millions of Americans are struggling to pay rent, buy food, etc.,…well, I think it would be pitchfork-and-Molotov time in any civilized society. UPDATE: Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd--who Sirota gave a well-deserved thrashing for his initial enthusiasm w/r/t the Paulson plan--has released a much more comprehensive alternative plan that would limit executive compensation, demand that firms wishing to be bailed out grant the government equity stakes, and create a special inspector general and oversight board. These are much-needed improvements, but for people wondering what all is still missing, check out Dean Baker's thorough rundown of what should be the sine qua non for the bailout.
Brian Cook was an editor at In These Times from 2003 to 2009. He now works on the editorial staff of Playboy magazine.