It’s one thing to listen to
government-anointed hacks justify the Bailout and Stimulus programs as necessary
to our salvation; after all, that’s what they’re paid to do. It’s another matter
to pay good money, as I did last week, to hear a private “economist” echo the
same apology for what in my humble opinion are some of the most absurd,
self-serving social and economic actions ever foisted on the public by its
Actually, I was with him as he
explained that the two conventional governmental palliatives to a sagging
economy—lowering taxes and interest rates—had fallen on their collective Fannies
and Freddies, but he lost me when he defended massive deficit spending as a sure
cure, after affirming that there was no historical precedent for the belief.
Still, I told myself, there was the nation’s infrastructure that we had allowed
to fall into a state of serious disrepair that needed to be attended to, so
perhaps the Stimulus Package was merely an acknowledgment of the
Anyway, while I was digesting the
logic of this, the speaker went on to say that while he understood that we might
bridle at the fact that the first hands in the bailout till were pretty much the
same ones responsible for the situation to begin with, the institutions they
represented were just too valuable to let fall. In other words, before we could
be saved, the culprits had to be made whole again.
I have to admit that while it
sometimes makes me wish my gene package contained another foot of height, I
understand the supply-versus-demand basis on which the dozen or so superstars in
their underwear with the talent for tossing a ball through a hoop make more in
an evening than I will in a decade. I’ll be darned if I’ll accord the same
largesse to a bunch of self-styled “financial experts” whose expertise lies in
But that’s not where my real problem
with the situation lies.
Not content to have mortgaged our and
our children’s economic future through our profligate behavior, we are allowing
our elected officials to compound the issue by apparently rewarding those whose
avarice and, in many cases, downright illegal activities have led the parade. In
doing so, it seems to me we are sending the clearest, most powerful message to
our children that moral behavior and self-restraint are for victims…that the
real winners are the con artists, cheaters, and out-and-out
Like individuals, nations have to
make tough choices, and for many of these we have no precedent to fall back on.
But in this case we have more than enough evidence to support the belief that a
free society must be based on a foundation of self-restraint and moral
behavior…precepts quite foreign to the nature of governments.