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naomi kleinSeptember 22, 2008

Naomi Klein debates Andrew Sullivan in defining the current economic meltdown on the Bill Maher show. Klein warns, “The thesis of the Shock Doctrine is that you need a disaster to rationalize pushing through these very unpopular policies. The real disaster is the debt that is going to explode on the American taxpayers. And then they’ll do ‘economic shock therapy.'”

In this Bill Maher segment, Naomi Klein argues that by transferring Wall Street’s gambling debt to Main Street (what she calls crybaby capitalism), the shock doctrine will come into play:

“They have moved the disaster from Wall Street to Main Street by accepting those debts….  But the bomb has yet to detonate.  The bomb is the debt that has now been transferred to the taxpayers.

“So it detonates when/if John McCain becomes president in the midst of an economic crisis, and says, ‘Look! We’re in trouble. We’ve got a disaster on our hands. We have to privatize social security. We can’t afford health care. We can’t afford food stamps. We need more deregulation, more privitization.’

“You know the thesis of the Shock Doctrine is that you need a disaster to rationalize pushing through these very unpopular policies.

“So, the real disaster has yet to come.  The real disaster is the debt that is going to explode on the American taxpayers.  And then they do economic shock therapy.”

Andrew Sullivan, author of The Conservative Soul and writer for TheAtlantic.com, argues with her, unsuccessfully.  Klein retorts with, “This is socialism for the rich.  Look, if we’re socializing things, let’s nationalize something profitable.  Let’s go for Exxon. They’re socializing junk!”

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