Truth and consequences

Somebody’s gotta say it: it’s insanity to do something over in the same way and expect different results.  This evening, the Senate will consider a ‘bailout package’ all dressed up with icing and bows decorating the same proposal that was rejected on Monday.  Mental parity?  Unrelated tax incentives?  And especially, the FDIC limit, raised to make it easier for those with astronomical funds, but making little difference to the vast majority of us.

While politicians have said little to make us think they’re on our side, the media has worked hard to convince us that the bailout is necessary, that the Wall Street crumble will trickle down to affect us all.   Will public pressure ease off for tonight’s vote?  We shall see.

But let’s make no bones about it: by executing a bailout of any kind, we are altering our system of free enterprise.  We are setting a precedent of government intervention in the market that will morph our entire economy.  The market’s freedoms led to the disaster.  A stern parent would let this wayward child suffer the natural consequences and emerge the stronger for it.  But we are soft, and afraid, and not all that convinced of our beliefs.  So we will rescue the bad boys and then supervise them, hoping that such measures will restore balance.  Any parent knows that this tactic, while it may preserve parental calm, does little for the perpetrator, who comes to expect rescue while his own recklessness remains intact.

I believe we are moving away from capitalism towards a much more cooperative economy, because the dog-eat-dog tactics of capitalism break down in an overpopulated world.  So the bailout idea isn’t out of line with this.  I wonder, though, if the action is properly understood as the tradition-smasher that it is.  By adopting any kind of bailout plan, we are admitting that capitalism has failed us, we are setting out – whether we want to or not – on a long and likely painful search to locate its successor.

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1 comment so far

  1. Hannah on

    Thank you for the creativity and clarity of your last paragraph. So many ideas being tossed around right now (lowering the drinking age or pulling out of Iraq, for example), are not inherently wrong and are indeed creative and sound alternatives to current issues. The problem is, no one addresses the huge fundamental changes they will set in motion.


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