Bailing Out the Financial Sector Vs. Building Really Cool Shit

Bush wants up to $700 billion to fix the mess we’re in. I know the various arguments about why we should (or shouldn’t) do this, and like most financial things, nobody can agree on much of anything. What I’m wondering is if the $700 billion wouldn’t be more effective at fixing things if it were spent elsewhere. Taking a look at Wired’s 10 Sci-Fi Techs We Could Build if They Weren’t so Damn Expensive, I notice that we could build most of them with that $700 billion, and still have money to burn. Nearly all of them would result in a boosting of our current technology, create high paying jobs, and, well, just be fucking cool to have around. (I mean, seriously, which would you rather have, a robot army or AIG? Robot armies let you invade places, AIG is staffed by people who think Ben Stein is a “party animal.”) So, would we be better off? Or, assuming that the $700 billion will fix the financial sector, does it make more sense to spend it there, since it will fix an immediately problem?

Dummy! Build androids to fight? Shit, no, build androids to *fuck *and inside of two years, you could buy Warren Buffet and make him play Santa for your kids.

I would rather the value of my house stop declining than have any of that stuff. :slight_smile:

Yeah, but what if the value of your house doesn’t stop declining? If you’ve got an android army, you can wipe out the property assessor if he gives you a value lower than you’d like! :smiley:

You’re thinking too small. A thousand robot soldiers, and the best you can come up with is whacking some poor guy that works for my bank? The bank’s bankrupt anyway. We used the money to save them on robots, remember? The robot soldiers would be all tied up doing riot duty against all the angry homeless people wondering what the heck happened to their life savings.

You’re assuming that the bail out will work, that’s not a guarantee. Building the robot army will involve hiring lots of people to design and build the robots. These people will not be financially insolvent, by any means. With them having money to spend (because they’ve got jobs), they’ll provide a boost to the economy. There will also be spin off technologies from the development of the robot armies, some of the folks working on the robot armies will start their own companies in order to capitalize on their ideas, this will add further stimulation to the economy.

This sounds like a better idea to me than propping up the banks simply so that people can pull all their money out and stuff it in a matteress some place.

If you don’t give the banks a trillion dollars of welfare, all of their employees are out of work. Robots or bank saviors, a trillion dollars into either of them saves (or creates) a bunch of jobs. Except the banks are actually useful for something now. We can only speculate that the robots will be useful.

The $700 billion bank bailout represents a purchase of assets, which will later be sold. So the net burden on the taxpayer should be less.

Furthermore, a $700 billion purchase of new fusion-powered pyramids has a much different economic effect than an exchange of assets. The former stimulates aggregate demand. The Paulson bailout does not, at least directly.

My argument is in GQ: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=483845

I report that economist bloggers almost unanimously dislike with the Paulson bailout here: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=10225899#post10225899

Again, you’re assuming that giving the banks the money will work. Or that putting money into things like technological development will take too long to reverse the economic trends pushing the banks towards insolvency. Technological development always has value, paper money doesn’t. (Just ask the folks in Zimbabwe.)

Availability of credit is what I’m going for here, not paper money. If nobody is left to give credit to anyone, what happens to the economy? The most important foundation of economy is debt/credit. Modern economy can’t even exist without it. Money can’t exist without it. I don’t care how many robot soldiers the government has, or what cool technology building them leads to, if you can’t borrow or lend money, civilization ends in catastrophe.

Just printing money leads to inflation, and in many cases, hyperinflation. Simply providing credit to people is what got us into this mess. Don’t forget that a lot of housing values were jacked up because credit was so easy to get, so people didn’t mind if a house was appraised at $100K over its real value, since they knew they could get a loan to cover the costs. When credit got a bit tighter, people didn’t want to pay those high prices and the economy started in on its death spiral. Propping up the banks could very well lead to a repeat of the situation. Putting money into things like technology is unlikely to do so.

Alright, you’ve convinced me. :slight_smile: Which candidate do I vote for to get the cool robot army?

Me! :smiley: (Well, you could write in Kucinich, but he’s liable to sell us all out to his alien overlords. ;))

What is the true value of your house? In many areas, housing prices seem to have little to do with any rational model of value.

Why should I pay more taxes in order to bail-out the upper middle-class?

If I may offer a bold suggestion, rather than spending the bail out money on a robot army how about we just spend it on one giant robot? (And a troubled teenager to pilot it, of course.)

I’m willing to compromise on five robots as long as they combine to form one giant robot.

NY to L.A. maglev would be nice, and the rest of the 630 Billion could get maglev branches through out the US. That would certainly save some money in the future. Who do I vote for to get that? I’ll even allow one battalion of androids to protect the line from terrorists. :wink:

Gort, baringa! Citibank barrada nicto!

I’d also like to mention that if we spent a “mere” $300 billion, we could eliminate our dependance on foreign oil, thus keeping some $200 billion/yr in the US.

Hey, this is the 21st Century! We were supposed to have all those things by now! Plus personal jetpacks and robot butlers and aircars!

Of course the elephant in the room is that you could’ve titled this “Iraq War vs. Building Really Cool Shit” and all the points would’ve still been valid.

Just sayin’