Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Strike One!

Most people don’t understand why the US Government should give failing financial institutions nearly a trillion dollars of taxpayers’ money. A number of those people happen to be members of the House of Representatives and the US Senate. That doesn’t mean that they’re incompetent, the economy is complicated. Just because your neighbor starts every sentences with the phrase It’s Economy 101, doesn’t mean that the basic principals taught in remedial courses at your local junior college have any impact on the market forces that move our nation’s economy. The people who came up with the idea of this massive bail out are economic scientists who have made economics their life’s work. It’s not something normally people are supposed to understand.

So politicians panicked. There’s an election coming up and 750 billion dollars is a lot of money. Voters could be upset. Polls indicate that public opinion of this bailout is low and what’s worse, George W. Bush said we needed to do it. That guy hasn’t been right about anything.

To the untrained eye it looks like a bunch of CEOs screwed up and want some free money to fix things. Millions of Americans are facing dire financial problems and nobody is there to help them. Regular folks have endured layoffs and foreclosures in addition to revolving debt and inflation. Times are tough and people are being forced to scrape by. So why should the fat cats who got us into this mess get a life line? It’s probably not fair or productive to expect the government to cover the debt of 200 million Americans but it certainly doesn’t seem fair to provide assistance to a handful of companies that simply failed to manage their businesses better. The American public doesn’t trust this proposal and given the circumstances of the past 8 years, you can’t blame them.

The Bush Administration has been consistent in one thing and one thing only: deceit. Congressional leaders have stood idly by and watched while our own version of Nero set fire to the empire. Even if this country wasn’t facing a financial crisis the mess Bush has made of our diplomatic relations, national security and our civil rights would take years to correct, but Bush and his cronies exploited their power to give big corporations a free pass to circumvent responsible business practices. It almost seems as though the plan was to let the crap hit the fan when the next president took office. It would appear that, just as they did with Iraq, Bush’s advisors “misunderestimated” the hole they were digging.

Maybe this bailout is necessary. Stabilizing the economy makes a lot of sense but where does Bush get off thinking his support of this issue is going to win us over? Most Americans are so fed up with Bush they can’t express how they feel for fear of being arrested. If you want to convince the American people that this bail out is necessary you need it presented by somebody they respect and trust more than Bush like OJ Simpson.

More importantly, you need to address the anger the American people are feeling. You don’t just ask for 750 billion and not offer up a sacrifice. Who screwed up and what are we going to do to them? Heads need to roll…first born need to be sacrificed…wives and daughters need to be sold into prostitution. We just need to know that the people who made this happen aren’t being rewarded for their incompetence. It would be a real shame if the CEOs who signed off on those bad financial practices end up eating caviar-stuffed lobster for Christmas dinner while the rest of us slurp pork and beans straight from the can.

That’s been the problem all along with Bush and his administration. Nobody gets held accountable. They haven’t even taken Bin Laden to task for 9-11 yet. Dick Cheney shot a guy in the face and didn’t even apologize. All the glaring problems, the huge mistakes, the lives lost and the money wasted but yet nobody has been punished. Now they want a trillion dollars and they don’t want us to ask where it’s going or why? No, that’s not going to stand. You’ve got to give us something.

Finally, and only because of impending Election Day accountability, elected officials listened. Most of the politicians who voted against Bush’s bail out vocally supported it, but when it came time to pass it they had to pass. They knew that their constituents wouldn’t allow it. It’s too bad the voters only matter when the election is a month away, but for once the system worked. Lincoln was right, you can fool all of the people come of the time but you at least have to try. The American people are stupid, but they’re not idiots. You have to pander to them if you want to screw them over.

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