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Bill Radke: A few weeks ago, we started a new blog at marketplace.org. It’s called Scratch Pad your online host is Scott Jagow, and he joins me now. Scott, this week you have been blogging about the auto bailouts, people’s gut reactions to our Treasury Secretary. And of course, AIG, which you call “Dracula, the insurance company.” What’s it been like for you?
Scott Jagow: With AIG, the more I read and think about this, the angrier it makes me. And Bernanke expressed his own anger this week about the way AIG has been run. It was once a well-run company. The problem is, they got into hedge funds. And now, we’re bailing out a company who gambled and lost on hedge funds. That’s the bottom line. I also pointed out that they’re still paying four public relations firms to do work for them, which I’m sure the taxpayers won’t be very happy about.
Radke: What’s been interesting about what your readers are saying?
Jagow: You know I think just about everyone hates what’s going on here with AIG. And we’re just taking it on faith that if AIG collapses then the entire Western financial system will go under. That’s what Bernanke keeps telling us. But I’ve had people come up to me and say, seriously, what will happen? Will I spontaneously combust? What is the literal consequence of AIG going under? You know, generally it’s the lack of loans, because this system will have no capital, so. But it’s very general, and it just feels like a lot of fear is driving this.
Radke: You think the mainstream media tend to faithfully quote the officials and filter out some of the anger that’s building out there? Am I overstating it?
Jagow: No, no no. But I think actually a lot of the anger is in the blogosphere.
Radke: That’s not representative, either.
Jagow: Yeah, and, it’s not all constructive. There’s a lot of negativity that can feed on itself and become sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. But I think that, you know, we have to get it out, we have to express our anger about this. And we have to be able to express the sentiment that taxpayers are shouldering a ridiculous burden now. The government was supposed to be watching and protecting the system. They failed in that respect, and now the government is taking over the system. So it’s very difficult for people who have grown up in a capitalist system to understand how we have gone so far the other way.
Radke: Well, we can read you now, Scott, at Marketplace.org, on the Scratch Pad. Thank you.
Jagow: Thank you, Bill.