The Age of the Bailout

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I have finally settled on what I think will be my Christmas wish for 2008. Or should I settle on what my Christmas wish should be for 2008? Oh, if there was just enough money for everyone to be happy. As we know, what we wish for does not really make a whole lot of difference. And of course, there is no way of determining how much money everyone would be satisfied with. And if I thought it would make everyone happy, I would be dead wrong.

Earlier in the fall, Americans were convinced that the government should give obscene amounts of money to private corporations to keep them financially stable. If we didn't, we were scared into thinking that the whole financial system as we know it would collapse. Whether or not it would, we really don't know. But we didn't rush through Congress a huge bailout bill with few strings attached and few questions asked. One thing we did not want to, was that this bailout money would go to the executives of these failing companies in the form of bonuses. And of course, that happened.

So-called geniuses of business, highly educated MBAs, got so greedy that they took money that should have remained in the business, and paid themselves huge amounts of money that will take care of them for the rest of their lives, and the rest of the lives of their children, and generations to come, because we are repealing the estate tax, a.k.a. the death tax, while the majority of America is getting stuck with higher taxes and even higher deficits. The one thing we were looking out for, happened anyway. Why do we allow the American taxpayer to continually be duped?

Yes, it began with financial institutions. It has now moved over to include the auto industry. Now, after a lousy year of retail business, retailers are looking for a bailout to supplement the Christmas sales which were not as high as they had hoped. We are at a sad time in America. Everyone is a victim. Everyone indulges in self-pity. And, everyone wants a handout. At some point, there has to be someone responsible for footing the bill to all of these handouts. How can we just hand money over to people again and again, with no strings attached? In bygone generations, people had to suffer hardships also. People delayed gratification when it comes to buying things that they want. Not anymore. Everyone has to have everything at every level. We need widescreen TVs, smart phones with GPS, 250+ channels of cable TV, fancy automobiles, and homes twice the size of the ones we grew up in. No longer do we have to save and work for things that we want and we think will make us happy. Or Caracas and basements are full of junk. Crap that we thought we wanted and could not live without, we are doing without because we are not using it even though it is in our possession.

What has to happen for America to get its common sense back? It seems like we want to learn the lesson, but don't want to pay the price. If we don't pay the price, we don't learn the lesson. And we'll be doomed to repeating this over and over again. I guess the new axiom is, 'when the going gets tough, the tough seek a bailout.'

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