Friday, September 3, 2010

Bailouts...or Bust?

President Obama has spent more money in his first 500 days in office than any other human being has spent in the history of money. The sums are not only staggering, they are staggering squared.

Some say he had no choice—the economy was crashing down around us. He had to bail out the banks, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the car companies and AIG…and, oh yeah, how about the 26 billion dollar bill he signed just the other day to bail out state governments that couldn't manage their budgets?

No bailout is good—they reek of rewards for bad business practices. Nonetheless, some of them must be a necessary evil, I suppose. The problem comes with a full embrace of the concept, as though what is wrong is also fair.

If there must be a bailout, to make it palatable, it should be accompanied by an excruciating pain for everyone, so that no one—not the government, not the recipient, not the average ”Joe”—can think of another bailout without experiencing severe bouts of vomiting and diarrhea.

The problem with Obama’s bailouts is that they are painless; they offer no balance—no austerity on the other hand, no sacrifice. We are simply spending money, which sounds too much like fun.

What eats at Americans most about these bailouts is that they are not earned. That goes against our grain. Our work ethic may be dulled, but we still hold by this creed: Anybody can spend a buck. The real man is the one who earns it.