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Warring Wage

October 23, 2009

WAR, AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY, is hell. J.R. Boyd reports that behind the subscription wall at the online Wall Street Journal, economic adviser to the president, Lawrence Summers has things to say about Wall Street profits and executive bonuses (bonii?)

Is this your homework, Larry?

“Just as in war, there are unintended victims so, too, in economic rescues, there are unintended beneficiaries.” [Summers]

What an apt that metaphor that turns out to be! Let’s break it down.

In war “unintended victims” are called collateral damage. However there is always some question over whether this is “unintentional” at all, as un-forthcoming our rulers can be with the true reasons they do anything.

The “unintended” aspect of collateral damage only relates to the stated purpose, (ie: intention,) of the aggression.

With the economic rescues, the stated purpose put forth by the president is “to keep on going until we make sure that every single American in this country who’s looking for work is going to be able to get the kind of well-paying job that supports their families.” (As un-forthcoming as ever, if not a bald lie. As our economy seems to always, even in the best of times, maintain some level of unemployment.)

Nonetheless there it is. If “beneficiaries” are equivalent to “victims” in the war comparison, then, yeah, Summers’ metaphor is dead on, (pun intended.) If the intention were truly to put people back to work, then the bank executives’ whose incomes are shored-up through profits and bonuses would be “unintended” beneficiaries. Would this be called collateral repair, perhaps?

Indeed, in keeping with Boyd’s conclusion at ladypoverty, the problem is most definitely not with Summers’ metaphor, but with the underlying fiction of the economic rescues.

Presidents, even the heroic liberal ones, always lie.

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