Harry Potter and the Bailed-Out Banks

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Harry Potter and the Bailed-Out Banks

There's a new blockbuster out just in time for the holidays: Harry Potter and the Bailed-Out Banks. Here's a synopsis:

While students in London spend hours in the cold protesting tuition fees that may soon triple, RBS, a bank that took a huge government bailout, throws a party commemorating one famous British student: Harry Potter. (Of course, Potter went to an exclusive private school.)

It'd be funny except it's exactly what just happened in London. Perhaps the bank thinks the money that came from the government appeared by magic or goblins instead of by taxpayers, who still technically own 84 percent of the bank. The taxpayers—particularly those facing steep government cuts—know better.

In the US, we've been seeing extravagant child's play from bankers for a while now: from rub-your-nose-in-it bonuses to costume parties with rappers. And Republicans, who love to cry “What about the children?” when wailing about deficits, are more than happy to keep cutting  taxes at the expense of those very same children.

A recent UNICEF report that's received almost no attention found that of the world's twenty-four richest nations—a list the US tops—our children rank twenty-third in material well-being, twenty-second in health well-being, and nineteenth in education well-being.

The tax cuts Congress is debating  for the rich, come from somwhere -- from education and healthcare to the pockets of those party-throwers, and the kids don't so much as warrant an invitation.

Laura Flanders

Laura is YES! Magazine's 2013 Local Economies Reporting Fellow and is executive producer and founder and host of "GRITtv with Laura Flanders." Follow her on Twitter @GRITlaura.

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