Back To Politics: The Bailout Revisited

Sometimes I absolutely hate computers! I had the rough draft of thus post all written and was trying to save it when I guess I hit the wrong key and accidentally shut the computer off, losing everything I had written. So, now I am trying to rewrite the same post, What you are reading is the result of that rewrite. Hopefully, it will be better than the original was, which, if I say so myself, was not too shabby!
 What also makes this rewrite interesting is that I am writing sitting at the dining room table, the first time I have ever done a post not sitting at my desk. I have to use my external flexible keyboard because I cannot read the gray letters on the built-in keyboard, but I am using the built-in mouse, which is quite different from my external optical mouse. Those o you Iwo are familiar with laptops will know what I am talking about.
 I know I said I was not going to return to discussing politics until after the Inauguration, but when somebody starts doing their job before they are even getting paid for it, that’s worth talking about. And when that person is the President-elect, then it’s really worth talking about.
 According to this article from the Associated Press, President-elect Barrack Obama has asked Congress for, and I quote, “access” to the $350 billion of undistributed funds from the financial services bailout. I take umbrage at the reporter’s use of the word “access,” because, if you are as distrustful of politicians as I am, you might think that Obama was asking for the money for some nefarious purpose, when, in fact, he is asking Congress to give him permission to take control of the money prior to his inauguration, so that he can distribute the money about a week after his inauguration. Somehow, journalists in the news media seem to have forgotten that reporting should be as objective and as straightforward as possible both in content and in style. This article makes use of lots of ambiguous language and the article is poorly organized.
 Taking control of the second half of the bailout out of the hands of the Bush administration is a good thing, since Bush has been roundly criticized for his handling of the original distribution. No surprise there, Look a the mess Bush and his cronies made of the economy and the war on terror! Plus Congress is going to require more accountability and put some sorely needed restrictions on how this money is spent. If we are really lucky, they may even require the recipients to actually pay the money back with interest, just as these institutions require us to do.
 My favorite proposed restriction, and one these institutions are strongly opposing, is limits on executive compensation packages. If Congressman Barney Frank has his way, the compensation restrictions would be retroactive to include the recipients of the original distribution. Right on, Barney! Give ’em hell!
 I mean, the reason these companies are in such dire straits that they need a cash influx is because of poor management. Why should these incompetent boobs be rewarded with salaries that ribal the gross national product? Personally, the whole lot deserve to be sent to an institution for people with deranged egos, along with the executives of the auto makers and most of the top-level members of the Bush administration, including Bush himself. A place where they have to wear flax, eat rice and beans, and watch episodes of the Teletubbies all day.
 I did not think the bailout was such a good idea, and nothing has happened to change my mind. So, the more restrictions that Congress puts on the recipients, the happier I am. What these institutions have indulged in is nothing short of rampant speculation, the same thing the banks did back during the administration of President Andrew Jackson. His response to that rampant speculation wasto nationalize the American banking system, which is why we have banks with the word “National” in them. These banks fate back to the time when the government really controlled the banking system. Maybe this is a solution to the economic crisis the Obama administration should seriously conisder.
 I can remember a time when a bank’s worth was measured by the size of the assets of its customers, not by the side of its outside invesetments portfolio. A bank existed to serve its customers, not its stockholder. The bank considered its owners to be its depositors and morthagees, not some computeried stock trading entity. I am reminded of the compatison of the reaction of George Bailey to that of Old Man Potter to the run on financial institutions during the Great Depresion as presented in “It’s A Wonderful Life, ” ome of my all-time favorite Christmas movies. The current crop of financial exeutives seem mre like clones of Potter, when we really need more George Baileys.
 My only objection to the nationalization of the banks is that doing so woulld give the politicians even more control of our money than they already have. Given the moral fiber, or lack thereof, of our current generation of politicians, that could be quite dangerous. Being a politician was once a very moral endeavor. We have come a long way from the high moral standing of politicians like Wasgington, Jefferson, Lincoln and FDR. I womder if we will ever see leaders of that quality ever again. Probably not, sorry to say.


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