Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010
There's a new blockbuster out just in time for the holidays: Harry Potter and the Bailed-Out Banks. Here's a synopsis:
While students in London spend hours in the cold protesting tuition fees that may soon triple, RBS, a bank that took a huge government bailout, throws a party commemorating one famous British student: Harry Potter. (Of course, Potter went to an exclusive private school.)
It'd be funny except it's exactly what just happened in London. Perhaps the bank thinks the money that came from the government appeared by magic or goblins instead of by taxpayers, who still technically own 84 percent of the bank. The taxpayers -- particularly those facing steep government cuts -- know better.
In the US, we've been seeing extravagant child's play from bankers for a while now: from rub-your-nose-in-it bonuses to costume parties with rappers. And Republicans, who love to cry "What about the children?" when wailing about deficits, are more than happy to keep cutting taxes at the expense of those very same children.
A recent UNICEF report that's received almost no attention found that of the world's 24 richest nations -- a list the US tops -- our children rank 23rd in material well-being, 22nd in health well-being, and 19th in education well-being.
The tax cuts Congress is debating for the rich, come from somewhere -- from education and healthcare to the pockets of those party-throwers, and the kids don't so much as warrant an invitation.
Laura Flanders Huffington Post