I have nothing to add to Matthew Yglesias’ point:
Why not tie this bailout to something like the second stimulus package of enhanced food stamps, extended unemployment insurance, and enhanced aid to state governments straining under the yoke of Medicaid payments?
It’d be absurd for the government to be moving hundreds of billions of dollars around amidst an economic crisis while doing nothing for, say, janitors who get laid off from Lehman Brothers. The problems to worry about here are in the “real” economy. Propping up the financial sector can help accomplish that, but we also need to prop up normal people trying to pay the bills and weather the storm.
Relatedly, via Atrios, the sort of poll numbers one just doesn’t see. According to the latest numbers from American Research Group, Inc., exactly 0 percent of Americans think the economy is getting better. Yes, 0 percent. (Eighty-two percent think it’s getting worse. Everyone else either isn’t sure or thinks it’s staying the same.)
This concerns me.