And ahead of today’s House vote on the $800 billion Wall Street bailout, journalist and Shock Doctrine author Naomi Klein appeared on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report last night. Klein told host Stephen Colbert the bailout exemplifies how governments and corporations try to push through self-serving policies during moments of crisis.
Naomi Klein: “The problem is the Bush administration doesn’t really believe in the free market. They have invented no-risk capitalism, OK? So, they spend seven years just transferring public money into private hands. Their final act is taking private debt and transferring it into public hands.”
Stephen Colbert: “But aren’t you—it sounds like you’re just, you know, upset that you’re not a banker right now.”
Klein: “I think we’re all a little upset that we’re not bankers right now.”
Colbert: “Of course! But that’s our fault for not getting in on the game.”
Klein: “Yes. Here’s another example of disaster capitalism. After Hurricane Katrina, this is the classic example."
Colbert: “I remember it. I remember it. Yeah?”
Klein: “I was in New Orleans. I was working on this book at the time. The city was still underwater. Richard Baker, the Republican congressman, says, ‘We couldn’t clean out the public housing projects, but God did.’ They used a horrible disaster to push through this preexisting agenda that hey had. They don’t believe in public housing. You know what they believe in?”
Colbert: “My friend, they were just giving credit where credit is due.”
Klein: “What they believe in is getting poor people into houses they can’t afford, so that their friends can speculate on the money, and then they can bail them out."