G20If the talk at the G20 gathering in England is any indication, the hard-beset global economy is stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. From the American perspective, as articulated by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, what the global economy needs is the same sort of placebo the American government has been administering domestically, to the delight of the ruling classes but the muffled dismay of the middle-class tax base: more stimulus spending.

aigOfficial Washington is an a tizzy over new revelations, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal and dutifully amplified by other news outlets, that as much as $50 billion of bailout money sent to ailing mega-insurer AIG was funneled to at least two dozen U.S. and European banks.

Detail of cost-of-living-on-the-edge cartoonIf the American taxpayers knew how much the federal government was actually costing them, there is no doubt that it would be much smaller than it is today. But the true burden of the federal government on the taxpayer is obscured in many ways.

economy“The only way to fully restore America’s economic strength is to make long-term investments that will lead to new jobs, new industries, and a renewed ability to compete with the rest of the world,” said President Barack Obama in his Address to the Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday, February 24, 2009.

This remark by President Obama sounds like something a concerned American citizen who is struggling to keep his financial head above water might say. A “hurray” moment? Maybe not.

Senators and congressmen confer on stimulusITEM: The New York Times reported on January 28, 2009:

The stimulus bill ... is not just a package of spending increases and tax cuts intended to jolt the nation out of recession. For Democrats, it is also a tool for rewriting the social contract with the poor, the uninsured and the unemployed, in ways they have long yearned to do. With little notice and no public hearings, House Democrats would create a temporary new entitlement allowing workers getting unemployment checks to qualify for Medicaid....