Bailout: Making The Most Of A Bad Business

Suddenly millions of Americans who never bought stock are going to be the owners of insurance firms, brokerages and mortgage companies. They broke it, we bought it — so we might as well enjoy it.

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Back now with Day to Day. Seven hundred billion dollars, maybe more, that's our tab as American taxpayers for bailing out financial firms that made bad bets on mortgages and other securities. It's a grim reality, and so our Brian Unger went looking for a silver lining in today's Unger Report.

BRIAN UNGER: You've always wanted to play the stock market. Dreamed of buying low, selling high, acting badass. Private planes, box seats, sea bass. A house in any Hampton, heck, a mansion and a yacht. You wanted to enjoy the prestige that comes with owning shares in America's most powerful corporations. That's stock ownership. It used to be a privilege reserved for the rich and connected, a line of work for somebody else, with risks you couldn't afford.

Not anymore. Thanks to your U.S. federal government, you're finally in the market. Today you're a wheeler-dealer in the high-flying worlds of insurance, banking and real estate, a captain of industry without ever leaving your home. A regular Elmer J. Fudd.

Congratulations! You own your neighbor's house, AIG, Fannie, Freddie, and a gazillion cockamamie, shoddy, crackpot mortgage schemes and securities Wall Street cooked up. The economy, they broke it, we bought it. Now let's act like we own it.

First, now that we own an insurance company, let's provide affordable insurance to every American. And now that we own the banks, let's make housing available to all people with good jobs and decent wages. Why call it a bailout when we could call it the best socialist republic we can muster? Let's make America the best France ever.

(Soundbite of song "La Marseillaise" French National Anthem)

And while we're at it, let's go the distance and give all Americans access to medical care, and a bicycle to every child who wants one. Really, why only help Wall Street, when we can remake Main Street? To do anything halfway would be downright un-American.

(Soundbite of song "This Land Is Your Land")

Mr. WOODY GUTHRIE: (Singing) This land is your land, and this land is my land...

UNGER: Let's double down, America. Let's plan this new economy the way we want to. Because we're all at the same table. Not a poker table, but a kitchen table, sharing a big pie, a giant, 700 billion dollar peach cobbler. And if we're going to eat it, let's eat it the way we like it!

(Soundbite of song "This Land Is Your Land")

Mr. WOODY GUTHRIE: (Singing): From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters. This land was made for you and me.

UNGER: And that is today's Unger Report. I'm Brian Unger.

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