Top management goes out and middle management moves up. That's what happened at International Harvester when it went bankrupt.
And yes, I did call Obama a Republican, all the top Cabinet posts are filled by Republicans, Kissinger's protege is in charge of the Treasury, and the war drags on. He's not a neocon (thank God or whoever), but definitely a Rockefeller Republican.
Bailouts did NOT save GM and Chrysler. GM and Chrysler (the organizations) were saved by bankruptcy. The old stock holders lost everything. I sympathize with them, but they suffered from management's mistakes. That management is now gone. The same should happen to the banks. The management should go, not receive government paid bonuses or 50% raises like Citigroup.
No, not Rainbows and Sunshine. Bankruptcy and reorganization of some of the largest corporations in America. Would that have been the end of the financial system, with no one being able to get a loan, as we were told? Well, the biggest manufacturing company in America, GM went bankrupt. But you can still buy a Chevy, Buick, or Cadillac.
What the bank bailout protected was the current bank stock and bond holders, and most importantly, Goldman Sachs.
I think "unnecessary tests" is a red herring. I'm 64 and I only had duplicate tests once in my life. I had an industrial accident and the specialist I saw for follow-up wouldn't even look at the X-rays the hospital emergency room gave me, saying he preferred to take his own.
A VAT tax like you propose would help the balance of trade as well because it would fall heaviest on imports, which is allowed by our trade agreements. The Europeans do it all the time. They don't have anything near the trade deficit that we had. The VAT tax could kill two birds with one stone.