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Archive for March 19th, 2009

Bail Out

I’m not a fan of government bailouts. Unless the government is writing a check directly to me, that is.

But the billions our government is opting to spend in order to keep companies like AIG afloat seem like a monsterous waste of money. I’ve written about why these companies should be allowed to go bankrupt before. Seems as though billions could be used to do a lot of good in the world versus spent on risky bets – bets the masses of humanity will never benefit from at all.

For as long as mankind has walked the earth, those who help themselves tend to rise above the fray. It’s just as true today as it’s always been. It’s also all a matter of perspective. My mom grew up as a child during the depression. She rose above the fray by taking on odd jobs when she was only 10 years old. She cleaned houses, did laundry and cooked meals for the families who could afford it, then she went home and helped her mother do the same for their family of 11. What did she gain from that experience? An unflappable work ethic and the knowledge of the value of a dollar.

Mom was never wealthy. She never had the money to travel lavishly, buy the best clothes, own the nicest furnishings, or even remodel her kitchen in the exact way she wanted. But she was happy, just the same. When she earned her own money and bought her own things (with cash) there was a sense of accomplishment on her face.

Few people today grow up in the same way Mom did. The ethic among us today is watered down and soft. The satisfaction that once came with a day’s wage for a day’s work and paying cash for new shoes or a good used car no longer delivers a sense of self-satisfaction. Cash? What’s that? We buy with credit. Buy now. Pay later.

So our country’s economy stumbles because the rich have gotten greedier while the middle class and the poor have stopped worrying about their ethics. We’ve forgotten how our parents and grandparents did things. We’re the “me too” culture chasing after something we’ll never catch, but willing to risk our retirements on the chase just the same. At all costs.

And now, we have yet another target to point our fingers at and cast off all blame. It’s the AIG’s of the world who did this to our economy. Blame them. Protest them. Picket their office complexes and send death threats to their millionaire employees who got rich off the backs of the rest of us.

My Mom would have clucked her tongue at them, too. But she would have said, “Glad I don’t have to walk in their shoes.” And she would have slept well each night in her own satisfied way.

-end-

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