Bailouts, stimulus are all bad ideas

Posted: Monday, February 09, 2009

As this is written, a reported 75 percent of Americans want the federal government to pass some kind of stimulus package, but only 38 percent approve of the existing package the Obama administration has presented.

The president adamantly states the necessity to pass a stimulus package right away. That should be the first indication that we need to pause - if we are smart.

This near-scornful proclamation is voiced by the same individual who nominated a man for treasury secretary, the top IRS official who refused to pay his taxes even after he was audited and told he had to - until after he was being vetted for this position. Nice.

Experts provide estimates that only 12 percent to 20 percent of the stimulus money proposed to be spent would actually create jobs. The administration promises the bill would provide 3 million to 4 million jobs over the course of the next couple of years. This amounts to about 5,500 jobs a day, every day, for next two years.

The problem is two-fold. First and most importantly, Americans refuse to face the folly of their actions.

One prime example: Those who manage the nation's largest financial institutions, the same storied businesses that were able to overcome obstacles and stay in business for more than a century, drove them into insolvency.

The response: dole out $700 billion to these champions of dereliction.

Congress gave the money, with no strings or oversight attached. The government let these "managers" keep their lucrative jobs and even give themselves $18 billion in bonuses in the wake of the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression.

This is futile. You can't have capitalism when things are going well and then flip the switch to socialism when things go sour. Giving taxpayer money to the folks who drove these businesses into the dirt, virtually overnight, positions the nation - and ultimately the world - for more of the same.

Those who relished in the excess of the successes of their decisions must also take the risks of the doldrums of despair.

The second problem is that Americans submit to the idea that when life turns out to be so unfair, the government is the only solution to our woes. And because we are an instant-gratification society, we can't wait for a solution, a well-thought-out plan that fixes the underlying issues. Instead, we are the reactionary nation, falling in line behind our political pied pipers like rats scurrying to an impending demise.

Politicians pursue re-election like hound dogs on a rabbit trail; and we despise suffering or sacrifice in any manner. It's a perfect combination of civil cowardice and political ambition. An amalgamation born and nurtured during the past 50 years of affluence and narcissism.

Bailing out banks was a bad idea. We need to take our lumps like we have in the past and learn a valuable lesson that won't be repeated at least for a few decades.

The stimulus package amounts to a placebo placed in the mouth of John and Jane Doe because it's what they demand. If we move forward with a stimulus package that even remotely resembles the one assembled, it will amount to the single largest pork barrel spending project in the history of the world.

We'll saddle our children and future generations with debt because we lack discipline and courage, both personal and civic. We are about to experience a torrent of cash poured upon our country that we'll be cleaning up after for generations.

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