You heard it, too, didn't you, about 14 months ago?
The president, the treasury secretary, the talking heads on TV, all telling us the only way to save our economy -- hell, the economy of the whole world! -- was to send trainloads of money to the Wall Street banks. So much money we had to print more just to fill the box cars. We had to do this because then the big banks would start lending money again and businesses would start hiring people and things would get better.
"Better" sounded good. We'd lost 43% of our life savings in 2008. Or we'd lost our jobs and used up our savings just trying to eat. Or we were living on food stamps. Or in a big empty box under an overpass.
For most of us the retirement accounts have recovered some of their losses. But precious few of those who lost their jobs are back at work. Businesses are still laying people off in the hope that Wall Street banks will notice and stock prices will go up. Rush and Glenn and the Tea Cup Dingbats are railing against the folks on food stamps and the boxes under the underpass are getting crowded.
A year after the congress approved the boxcars of cash for the big banks, the President declared "Mission Accomplished" even though a few of us were having trouble making ends meet because we were still out of work. Say, 10 or 12 million of us.
The bankers paid themselves 19 billion or so of the boxcar dollars in bonuses for their good work.
But wait a second. Wasn't there something else? Oh, yes, the banks were going to start lending again, remember? And when the banks started lending again, businesses would get healthy and when businesses got healthy money would trickle down and pretty soon we'd all be back in the land of milk and honey.
That's what they told us, remember?
So what's with this headline at the top of the front page of the Wall Street Journal the other day? LENDING FALLS AT EPIC PACE, it read. Epic pace! The sharpest decline in bank lending since 1942.
How can this be? Mr. President, Mr. Treasury Secretary, Mr. Congressman, Mr. Talking Head -- HOW CAN THIS BE?