We own the banks—shouldn’t we run them?

Source: Michael Hiltzik, L.A.Times (Free Registration)

The worst thing about ideological sloganeering is that it obscures, rather than clarifies, the facts of a situation. Exhibit A: The question of whether we should "nationalize" our crippled banks. To the political right, the very word smacks of the world of banana republics. To the left, it's just what those idiots on Wall Street deserve, and long overdue. To the center -- let's call it the Obama administration -- it's an intriguing concept, but not really suitable for these United States. Yet if you peer beneath the terminology at the underlying reality, it's obvious that nationalization of the banks is a done deal. We bought them. We own them. The only problem is that we've failed to exercise our right to control them.

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