"The Financial Bailouts" have me thinking and pondering, Why do I find them so, frankly, offensive to my senses?
I can argue this from the viewpoint of being a capitalist and free market
advocate. The debate can be political in terms of government and
policy – conservative and liberal. Certainly, there is an economy at
risk argument that is being made along with the loss of millions of jobs.
I read, listen, and watch "the experts" debate the issue eloquently on both sides and I find myself caught in the middle of which way to go. All of the above enter into my opinion.
In the end, I've decided that the Bailout is just plain wrong. What Dr. Spock did for parenting with his no spanking approach, government is now doing to society. The United States is a nation "By the people and for the people…." Unfortunately, we've become a nation afraid to spank our children. What Dr. Spock did to parenting, government is now doing to our nation.
Dr. Spock made valid points, but there is a larger context to parenting. There's something important to a child's development to have an authority in their lives who sets and secures appropriate behavior boundaries. It prepares the child to be a more responsible and contributing independent adult. A parent like a government needs to carry a full arsenal of options including the power of a good whack on the bottom.
As we hear reporters and politicians speak in terms of "taking the military option off of the table" it is Dr. Spock in the Congress. Now the generation of Dr. Spock is running the nation as if it were their household – Democrats and Republicans alike.
The Concept of Consequences has been decimated. Simply, this states that a person is responsible for the results of his or her actions. If I stick my hand on wet paint that is clearly marked as wet paint, then the natural consequence is I get paint on my hand. Cause and effect.
Unfairly and sadly, sometimes we suffer consequences that are not the direct result of our doing. Two relatives' careers with Arthur Andersen ended because of the Enron scandal. One worked in Boston, the other in California. Neither had any business dealings with Enron or the Houston office of Andersen, yet they paid the price as the result of the actions of others. Curve balls come at us in life.
Consequences are often thought to be negative (punishment), but there are also positive consequences. Study hard, get good grades, enroll in college, graduate, and gain greater opportunities in life. This typical cause and effect pattern is predictably preached by many a parent. Consequences for our actions are something we are supposed to learn as children. It helps us grow into mature and productive adults.
As a nation, perhaps, it is a season of reflection and consequences. Money is never the answer to a problem. It is simply an easy salve to apply, a seemingly quick fix that fails to deal with the fundamentals. The "Me Generation" – of which I'm a part – needs to suffer the consequences of our avoidance to deal with the hard truth of overindulgence for decades. Abundance has lulled us into apathy and complacency. We're masters at avoiding the consequences of our actions.
Popeye the Sailor Man's fat friend J. Wellington Wimpy taught all too many of our generation the use of credit. To anyone who would listen, Wimpy offered, "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
Like overindulged brats fattened by our parents, our due is coming. Tuesday, dear Mr. Wimpy, has arrived and the bill is due. Our character needs to be strengthened or our country will be lost. I believe in the Spirit of America to face, survive, and improve. We need a season of pruning and leaders who are willing to make the tough call.
From the ashes of Wall Street or Main Street, the U.S. economy will rise again because the character of its citizens will rise to the occasion. Trust "We the people" to get it right, to pay the price, to be creative, and to make the most of a time such as this. Given the challenges to freedom arising in the world today against them, the banner bearers of liberty may very well need this time of preparation if truly "Liberty and Justice for All" is to survive.
Let Wall Street and the Automotive industry go into bankruptcy. Let home borrowers who overextended themselves lose their homes. From out of pain and suffering, comes humility and wisdom which are more precious than gold. We'll all be better people and a better nation for it.