The sky is falling, the sky is falling!!!!
Or, more accurately:
The stock market’s crashing, the economy’s tanking!!!
The former, I think, is true only in that as we continue to pull lots of carbons out of the ground and spew them into the air, the sky falls ever closer to levels of damage beyond repair in this century.
The latter, I think, is more a matter of melodramatic, histrionic thinking seeded by failed but still very powerful bankers/corporations who don’t want to be held fully accountable for their bad behavior and exceptionally poor business practices like they will be if they have to handle this all by their weeny little selves. They know that a “bail-out” will save their beautifully-clad asses and shield them from losing their personal shirts.
They also know that the alternative will NOT cause the economy to collapse albeit the process won’t be pretty, for sure, but WILL force them to face and deal with the collossal pig-sty they created (my apologies to pigs…), with all the lost compensation that goes with it. Over 200 very credible, highly regarded economists and scholars agree: this mess might get a little ugly, but will work itself out without one penny of government “bailing” money.
Finally, they are banking on (pun intended) the demonstrated m.o. of Americans these days, led by we Boomers (and unlike our parents); that we are not much for sacrifice on any level, are driven by the need for immediate gratification regardless of its long-term consequences, and therefore we will fall for anything that will keep us from the pain associated with atoning for our own glaring mistakes (making unabashedly bad if not somewhat greedy decisions to take on mortgages we couldn’t afford, with incomes that didn’t warrant the amount we borrowed, gambling on a big pay-off in a few short years as though our homes were a mini Vegas….).
Are they right? Well, so far, they’ve completely underestimated the American public. One point for us!
But the “bail-out” package is still worming it’s way through Congress (having at this writing won support in the Senate and now on its way to the House), and given Congress’ indebtedness to the bail-outees, will most likely pass. One point for the bankers.
So, given that we Americans have a poor track record of holding our representatives closely accountable for their actions/lack thereof, an equally poor propensity for voting at all let alone voting anyone out of office for glaringly self-promoting performances, and our representatives’ certainty of this, what we want at this point really doesn’t matter.
I guess you know that by now, given that an overwhelming majority of Americans are against the bail-out and it’s going to happen anyway. Congress’ justification: we’re just too uninformed (read stupid) to know what’s really best for ourselves…and I have to admit they have a point as it relates to who we’ve chosen through our own apathy as our government leaders…. But they’re more than willing to accept our exceptional thinking prowess when we do vote and cast one for them, so I guess that’s where our brain power really lies…(?!)
Anyway, back to the bail-out. Since it will happen, here’s a list of revisions to the provisions that I recommend Boomers insist upon when (and I hope it won’t be “if”) you call your Congressman today and tomorrow morning:
The amount not be a flat $700B with a phase-in component ( we know from experience that they will spend it all, and more…), but instead be authorized for only the first “phase in” amount of $250B: anything thereafter must be subject to Congressional vote, just like this was;
The “requirement that the Treasury Dept. make rules to prevent excess executive compensation” have a specific time-line by which that report will be due; the same goes for the President’s “established plan to recoup the cost from the financial industry if, after five years, there are any losses”;
“Cap deductibility of executive’s pay packages…for firms that get $300M or more from the program…”?! I DON’T THINK SO…. Cap executive compensation period, at $500K for firms who get any bail-out money whatsoever
Oh, and the whole idea of raising the FDIC guarantee amount to $250,000 from the current $100K? That is simply a ploy to get some folks to vote for this package. It is not something that will ultimately benefit any more than 5% of Americans (personal or business), and it will simply increase what we’ll have to “bail out” when banks behave badly again…and I promise you, without serious regulation/oversight, they will – their historical track record proves it. Eliminate this provision;
As for the ever-present and quite predictable throwing-in of all sorts of items that have nothing to do with the activity of “bailing” – inasmuch as I agree with most of them, particularly insurance coverage parity for mental illesses to physical ones, and tax breaks for clean, home-grown energy alternatives, they have no business in this bill and need to be handled separately, where they belong.
Well, that’s it, guidance from your Boomer Coach, whose job it is to provide you with all the relevant information you need to make a fully informed decision, do the research/compile the facts to that end, and be completely honest with you even when some of that feed-back isn’t a happy meal.
I’m Terri Benincasa, and I wrote this message.