Bailing-out Rich, Starving Poor to Death

Oktober 23, 2008

[qouted from Islam Online: Opinion by Ramzy Baroud]

There is hardly any disagreement that Wall Street’s woes are manmade. Regardless of what terminology one wishes to apply – miscalculations, greed, or wholesale failure in the US capitalist system, rooted in the economic philosophies of Milton Friedman and his ultra Laissez-Faire approach – the fact is the US economic crisis is not a fleeting phenomenon and no quick fixes are to provide a magic remedy.

“We’re not proud of all the mistakes that were made by many different people, different parties, failures of our regulatory system, failures of market discipline that got us here.” – US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson

It’s rather ironic that those who cried foul every time a third world government dared intervene in their national economy – even if to guarantee the welfare of the poorest segments of society – said nothing as the US, the UK and others defied every role in the free market economy, long championed by neo-liberal economists.

Even leading US republicans who chastised Big Government at every turn – especially to block welfare programs that mostly benefit the poor – cheered the government on as it moved to bail out the rich, who, as usual, are likely to remain unaccountable for risking the retirement funds and life savings of millions of Americans.

A dominant argument to justify governments’ behavior [the bailed out] is, yet again, the trickle down effect: a term coined by a Ronald Reagan speechwriter, which simply means that what is good for the rich is, eventually, good for the poor.

While elites in every society eagerly infuse such ‘Reaganomics’ at every turn, the world poor is yet to feel the trickles, which poses an interesting question: why the unprecedented and historic urgency to bailout the rich (for the sake of the poor, at an imaginary point in the future), while the poor can easily be saved, without such roundabouts plans?

Whether the American, European or any other government infused bailout packages rectify the financial crisis or not, chances are October 16, 2009 will carry out similarly devastating news about the plight of the world’s poor, which is likely to remain at that, mere ‘news’ that require little action, if any at all.

Ramzy Baroud ( is an author and editor of His work has been published in numerous newspapers and journals worldwide. His latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press, London).


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