Taxpayer Bailouts : The Lie You Need To Know

I have an issue. A problem, a concern. A nag. It’s an itch, and I just gotta scratch it.

It’s this. America, the UK and Iceland have all been bailed out by the taxpayer. You see it and you hear it: “Taxpayer to pump billions of squidoos into financial system” etc.

Except it’s a bald and blatent lie. The USA’s bailout was $700bn. The UK’s bailout has been estimated at $400bn. Iceland is more tame, at about $5.4bn.

But Iceland’s Prime Minister, Geir Haarde, let the cat out of the bag. We’ve been let down by our friends, he said, so instead we’ve borrowed $5.4bn from the Russians.

No talk about taxpayers or any such nonsense. “We” have borrowed money, which “we” are going to have to repay. In contrast, the USA and the UK keep rabbiting on about taxpayers bailing out the economy. They’re talking bollocks.

The reality is that various near, middle and far Eastern countries have lent money to our country and in return your government has committed the taxpayer to pay off the debt for years, if not decades, to come. At least the Icelandic model is more honest.

So understand this. Speculation has laid many of the Worlds’ greatest banks low because they did not have the liquid assets to match their commitments. Many of these banks have been saved by the intervention of their respective governments.

What will happen next is that speculation will shift away from the banks and begin against currencies instead. The spiral of debt will get tighter and speculation will begin against countries, as “people” bet for and against which country has the liquidity to honour those commitments.

One thing’s for sure: not all will be able to service the debts they have taken on, so just as we’ve seen banks being taken over by countries so we will see countries being taken over by superpowers.

This is my itch, the scratch I have to worry away at. Taxpayers, whether they know it or not, have put up no money to save these banks. Instead, they’ve been committed to pay back the debts used to bail out these banks.

Iceland has been bought by the Russians. Who’s bought the USA, or the UK? No one knows — scary thoughts, but as our politicans keep telling us … these are scary times.

Scratch scratch scratch. So which country do you count yourself to be the commodity of? Do you think this will change within the next ten years? Scratch scratch scratch.


Picture Credit: “Closer To The Park” by Torley from Flickr under Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike License.

Written by Chris Milton

is a seasoned sustainability journalist focusing on business, finance and clean technology. His writing's been carried by a number of highly respected publishers, including The Guardian, The Washington Post and Scientific American. You can follow him on twitter as @britesprite, where he's one of Mashable's top green tweeters and Fast Company's CSR thought leaders. Alternatively you can follow him to the shops... but that would be boring.


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  1. Chris, that is a scary outline. I’ve been wondering lately “where all the money has gone”…

    And it seems perhaps the new owners of that cash are more than happy to “loan” it back – they don’t have any thing better to do with it, i.e. no need to buy iron ore or coal etc as the end markets are on the downward buying trend…

  2. “the new owners of that cash are more than happy to “loan” it back” … you’ve hit the nail bang on the head there!

    2 facts:
    American is the largest debtor in the world (ie. it owes the most money)
    China is the largest creditor in the world (ie. it is owed the most money)

    Even I don’t need a ruler to join those two dots together 😀

  3. So, Now that we have new owners, Who in Hell owns us American slaves, and what are they going to do with us? Do we study Chinese to find out, or Arabic? and, Why, George Bush, Why did you do this to us?

  4. Very interesting and indeed scary. I have to admit I’m still a little skeptical though. It seems everywhere I turn someone has a theory on what is really going on with the bailout. How do I know this one isn’t just theory?

  5. This is very interesting…but I just spent the last hour looking over McCain and Obama you tubes and if you go by what everyone is portraying…you aren’t going to vote for either one of them.

    Is it going to boil down to who is the most believable or just a party ticket.

    I am one who has doubts if 911 was orchestrated outside of the US.

    So, this save the world buy out is a mind bloggler to me…it seems everyone is just borrowing from Peter to give to Paul…who still owes Mary…(I used to love that group in the 60’s).

    I am not in the top money makers so I know that in the end, what ever happens, that I am going to loose out and be stuck high and dry. And there is no one to bail me out.

    Thanks for the different outlook on the great bailout…as always I say…”FOLLOW THE MONEY.”

    See ya’ in the funny papers…

    Southern smiles and world peace,
    ~The Baby Boomer Queen~

  6. @Uncle B: to be fair to the poor sod, it’s not *all* Bush’s fault. However, it is difficult to have sympathy with anyone who says “we’re in trouble cos we borrowed too much so, um, let’s borrow some more!”

    @sancho8297: that govts are borrowing from other countries (Middle East Oil Sheiks and Communist Russia/China mainly) is fact. If you don’t trust what someone is telling you, check it out yourself 😉

    @sharon: heard an interesting radio feature the other day saying that the difference between Rep & Dem was that the former WANTS economic hardship (puritan ideals, etc) and the latter doesn’t. Does that help your voting decision?!

  7. As there has been soooo many titles put on the Great 21st Century Bailout -(Bailed out by whom??) is what we should be asking. Our elected officials have truly sold the American people lies, smoke and mirrors..The only thing that remains of AMERICA is our tradition of calling it that. Look at all that other country that own real estate in the U.S.A…any forclosures??
    The Big 3 beg for helping the people keep jobs, but they all have private jets..I say if it’s called a taxpayers bailout, then give the tax payers our share and we’ll bail out our own economy. It’s only 306 million people in this country. At $3 million each, we’ll all go shopping, pay our mortgages, car notes, college bills, etc.etc etc and the business that fail because of lack of better products or quandering of their resources can go to hell.

  8. Yep!those same ceo’s made how much per yr.and this has been on going trouble for more then 6 yrs,,so if they had cut pay in half how much money could they have saved: and bail thier owen ass out. the gov should go after all ceo’s that banked big bucks and walked away yet they make us pay us=100,000 houses we pay 611.00 intrest per month.and have to bail them out!!!the ceo I’m sure have 600,000 homes and got big bucks to walk away yet gov lets them keep every dime for running us into ground.

  9. As long as the bond market keeps showing up to purchase US bonds at ridiculously low interest rates, all the rest of this is mute. When people quit buying the bonds, and interest rates start rising, then the tax payer will have to start worrying.

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