Thursday, September 25, 2008

No Bailout for Me, Personally

As the East Coast, Washington, the presidential candidates and a constellation of Joe Schmoes, bloggers, bloviators and whotheheckars continue to wet their pants over the impending meltdown on Wall Street and the end of life as we know it, I want to go on record saying this:

I, personally, do not want a bailout. Although a COLA of more than 1.5 to 2.5 percent this year would be nice.

One of the biggest arguments I keep hearing against the $700 billion bailout the suits have proposed is that the little guy on Main Street is suffering, too. The argument is that we, the taxpayer, should not bail out big corporations that made stupid mistakes, cooked the books, ate the cheese, whatever you want to call it. I couldn't agree more. The plan Bush proposes, after some compromise with Congress, sounds reasonable. I would just rather that the Main Streeters express their disagreement without, cough cough, holding their hands out, wanting a bailout of their own.

I admit, when my wife and I bought our house, we didn't read all the fine print in the funny little contracts we signed. We were smart enough, however, to know that we weren't buying more house than we could afford, or signing up to some jiggered-up mortgage that would blow up in our faces.

I admit, when it comes to our IRAs and other investments, that I have no idea what I'm doing. I am smart enough to know, however, that nobody but my wife and I convinced us to put money in the stock market. Even with our paltry investments, we've lost quite a bit. That is, as my father-in-law (our financial adviser, a shrewd one at that, who is NOT opening his quarterly statements recently either) the risk of doing business in the stock market. Prices go down and people lose money. End of story.

This big bailout -- along with $25 billion of taxpayer money Congress is considering handing over to Ford and General Motors, quietly, as the banks and such wait hat in hand for their lolly -- will likely proceed in some form or another without my approval or understanding. That's the inevitability of the "C" I got in economics class and representative democracy. I'd just like someone, somewhere, to take responsibility for their actions and put their hands down when the bailout wagon comes trundling along.

Does the bailout push us closer to socialism? Are we, as Time Magazine putting it, becoming the United States of France? And, at the bottom of it all, is that such a bad thing? I'm going to get letters on this. But understand one thing: I won't ask you for taxpayer money when you deliver those letters.

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