In the porkathon to pass the bailout bill, Republicans balked at two measures--to extend jobless benefits for the unemployed and allow bankruptcy judges to reduce penniless homeowners' mortgages.
So much for Main Street, where signs of a 1930s Depression are cropping up everywhere:
*New figures show 760,000 lost jobs this year. Of the 9.5 million Americans out of work, two million have been for more than six months. Nearly 6.1 million people are working part-time because worsening business conditions have led to fewer hours and less pay.
*With bank-account insurance increased from $100,000 to $250,000, the potential liability of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for failing banks is now estimated to be $1.1 trillion. The FDIC's fund currently has about $45 billion, a five-year low.
*The number of Americans on food stamps, growing every month, was 28.6 million in June, according to latest government figures, reaching the level of late 2005, when Katrina and other hurricanes caused widespread suffering.
*Homeless families in Massachusetts motels have increased from 17 to 588 in the past year, with another 1,800 in shelters.
In my Depression childhood, everyone in our neighborhood was poor and many penniless until FDR and the New Deal began to bail us out with relief programs. In the 21st century, the government so far is concentrating on banks, investment houses and hedge funds.
We'll soon find out if the trickle-down theory works.