First, the latest bailout was supposed to be $85 billion for AIG. Then, Bush and Paulson proposed a whopper–the biggest corporate bailout in all history, rounded off to about $700 billion. Now it’s come out that it’ll get bigger, maybe triple or quadruple in size, because Paulson now wants to add all of it. He wants every defaulted mortgage, every bad student loan, all the credit card debt, defaulted auto loans, every bit of it–he wants it to be bought by the Fed.
When I was a kid, my parents didn’t have a lot of money. I didn’t have the cool clothes, the name-brand shoes, and my parents couldn’t afford to give me money to go out with my friends all the time. I went through a phase, around fourth and fifth grades, where I started stealing. A buck here, two there, didn’t matter to me–I got to do something I wanted to do at school (like buy my lunch) and I didn’t feel like such an outsider all the time. Trouble was, I wasn’t the one working for that money. I wasn’t paying the bills. I had no concept of finances, and over time that dollar I stole every other day added up. It didn’t take my parents long to figure out where the money was going, and I can tell you, once they caught me I didn’t steal money from them again.
Today I look back on that and I understand why they were so upset. I understand why money was tight, and that the money added up to a lot over time. All I saw then was that if I did it, I wouldn’t be able to sit for a week. Now I know that the thirty or so that built up over the space of three weeks would have paid our electric bill and put gas in my father’s car for nearly a month.
I didn’t learn to be fiscally responsible until I was an adult and had to fend for myself. The first time I went a week without eating because I’d spent too much money and was about to be short on rent, I learned a lesson. I started learning to tell my friends, “sorry, I can’t go…I don’t have the money.” I started learning to live within my means.
The majority of Americans don’t know how to do that. As a fraud investigator, I see people with debts that are outrageous every single day. I see people who are already in dire financial straits nearly have a mental breakdown when I tell them that their identity has been stolen by someone who has just racked up several thousands of dollars in bad debt, and we may never find them. One of the reasons why this sort of thing is so popular is that we can’t live within our means; we don’t know how to do it. We always want more.
The financial institutions that the federal government now want to bail out with OUR tax dollars have made a living capitalizing on that concept. They’ve made off like bandits by trying to draw more people in, telling them, “hey, we don’t need a social security number or immigration papers! Oh, you have a social, but you have bad credit? We’ll give you credit anyway! Come on in!” And those who don’t know how to handle money have made off just as well by abandoning their debts and ignoring what they owe, each time moving on to another company that’s willing to give credit to someone who doesn’t deserve it.
It all started with the subprime mortgage industry meltdown. Now it’s grown to unbelievable proportions. I wonder…will the amount I’m still dutifully paying off on my Ford truck be included in this bailout? Will I get a reward for working my ass off to be a good, contributing member of society?
Nope. I’m expected to pay for those who couldn’t manage their lives and finances. My hard work is expected to pay for the ones who didn’t want to work hard. This reeks of socialism. It’s not the America I know. How stupid do Bush, Paulson, and the other bailout-happy politicians think we are?