Friday, September 26, 2008

Who Gets the Check?

Is it my imagination or just bad memory? I've been watching the news during this economic crisis and I maybe wrong, but I think I'm seeing a glaring inconsistency. These same guys who consider themselves the free trade, free market, cut taxes, small government, fiscal conservatives are the ones who are now begging for a big government rescue, a buyout at the taxpayers expense, to cover years of bad decisions and mismanagement. I'm trying to get my mind around 700 billion dollars. At the going rate, how many generations does that come to?

Our government can't find a dollar for all the families who are losing their homes. And no funds are laying around for those wiped out by the hurricanes. But let the high rollers get in trouble, and truckloads of money immediately pull up to the curb. I guess I just don't understand the problems of applied economics, but I get to help pay for them anyway.

And, in the midst of this tirade, there may be a truth for us to keep in mind. We are all too quick to believe in the myth of our own autonomy, our imagined self-sufficiency. Like our childhood superheroes, we naively believe that we are impervious to problems, immune to the painful crises that plague others. Well, don't you believe it.

Jesus told a story about a man who suffered from just such a delusion, a well-heeled farmer sitting in the lap of prosperity, nameless to us except for the tag Jesus gave him - "Fool." No matter who we are or how pretty we are sitting, it can all be gone in a moment, in a heartbeat. Or we may be gone. Either way, it will be up to someone else to pick up the check.

2 comments:

Real Live Preacher said...

Just a thought from my simple mind. My impulse is the same as yours. My daughter has no health care because she tried to hurt herself years ago. No insurance company will take her. We can't pay for help in that, but we can afford a Trillion dollars for a war or this.

But there is this...The buyout means that the government money will buy securities and debts. Investments. When the economy turns around, those can be sold, getting back the money or even more. There is a risk to taxpayers, if our country fell apart and we could never sell them. It's the same risk anyone takes in the stock market. But that's unlikely.

Most of the time, the other kind of help, for example helping homeowners is just giving money away. Which can be good, but is probably not the thing to do here.

That's what they say, anyway.

Drew Hill said...

Good thoughts, Gordon. I think it is exceedingly unlikely that the newly rescued financial/investment industry will act in the future with any more regard for the common good or general welfare than they have in the past. That's what worries me. No wonder history tends to repeat itself.