Wednesday, 17 September 2008

AIG Bail-Out: Disaster Capitalism or a Chance to Force Insurance Companies to Support Universal Health Insurance in the US?

Just checked Naomi Klein’s web site to see if she has made any comment about the bail-out of insurance giant AIG, and it seems so far she hasn’t. The rescue plan would seem to be a brilliant example of the “disaster capitalism” that she has been talking and writing about for the last few years. There was no way that the US government could let AIG go bankrupt, since it was so deeply involved in he US economy. But the implications for the future are profound.

This is socialism for the rich. Supposedly the US can’t afford universal Medicare (and the right wing here is constantly saying the we can’t in Canada either) but it can afford to rescue companies that made very bad decisions.

Okay, so far. I understand that (and even have a stake in seeing that AIG stays solvent, having some money invested in AIG Canada.) But will there be a quid pro quo? That is, will the US government step in with stronger measures to regulate the financial industries? So far McCain makes clear it wouldn’t under his administration, and Obama has said much interesting either.

The US insurance industry is probably the biggest roadblock to universal Medicare in that country. But what if a new Obama administration said to AIG: we got you out of a mess, now you have to help get the country of the current health care insurance crisis. You come onside, and lobby your corner, and let’s come up with a plan that insures everybody, has simple administration (single-payer would be best) and that you will lobby for enthusiastically.

That would be using a crisis for a good cause, the reverse of “disaster capitalism.” Are you listening, Mr. Obama?

1 comment:

Travis Fast said...

The terms of the deal are that 80% of investors equity is to be wiped-out. It is a nationalization of AIG that is in the works. Why stop at health care? With AIG in the public all sorts of public insurance initiatives could get off the ground.