By Hook or by Crook

Everybody is outraged by this Wall Street bailout, but isn’t every speculative bubble a robbery? Direct transfer from the Treasury to the perpetrators makes this one a bit more conspicuous, but that’s very superficial.

Take the ongoing oil bubble, for example. About 100 billion gallons of gasoline are sold in the US every year. Let’s say all the various speculative factors (such as ‘war premium’, instability in the ME, OPEC manipulations, and garden variety speculations) added on average $2 per gallon over the last 7-8 years – and here you have it: $1.5 trillion ripoff, just in the US.

Or take the dot-com bubble – something like $8 trillion of paper wealth wiped out. Certainly most of it was stock held by the paricipants and speculators – no harm here – but there must be a trillion or two swindled, extracted from ordinary people, their mutual funds, pensions, 401Ks.

So, where’s the difference, is this one really so much more maddening? I just don’t see it.

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