Thursday, September 18, 2008

Common Sense

Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense

These are the times that try men's souls.

Where is Thomas Paine when you need him? I think we need Attila to start writing some pamphlets and start a nationwide distribution. She's got the spunk and cutting verbiage that could make people sit up and pay attention. Consider the following:

* The endless speculation on what is causing our economic collapse. I've got the answer, folks: Greed. Greedy greedy greed greed greed. CEO's commanding obnoxious salaries, investors demanding record quarterly profits, retired Baby Boomers unwilling to budge on their standard of living, politicians lining their pockets with lobbyists, people spending more on crappe made in China than on their investment portfolios, people saving a buck by buying foreign made rather than supporting their hometown economies, a nation at war unwilling to sacrifice on the homefront, and house flippers stunned to learn that when everybody tries to make a profit on real estate the market implodes. Even a 6-year-old knows that if you spend more than you make, you end up in the hole. And that same 6-year-old knows the turtle won the race because even though the rabbit started strong, he wore himself out. A 6-year-old knows, despite how many 1st place ribbons get handed out, not everybody wins. Some people come in 2nd, others come in 3rd, and a fair amount don't place. It's not fair, but it's a realistic expectation.

* The auto industry demanding a $25 billion government bailout to refurbish their plants to manufacture more energy-efficient cars. Really? The same auto industry that decried fuel efficiency standards for the last 30+ years? They didn't see the writing in the wall? No, they ignored it and squeezed every last dime out of SUV production they knew was bound to fail after gas prices reached $4.00 a gallon. Gas prices reached $4.00 a gallon because of supply and demand. No amount of lobbying, denial or false promises of offshore drilling will make that go away. Now they want a bailout because they were (wait for it...) GREEDY. They're calling it a "loan," an "investment," but let's call a spade a spade.

* The bailout of AIG, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae--now taxpayers will fund the bill that came from poor decision-making resulting from GREED. The greed that led these firms to make risky loans and investments without having cash on hand to cover their bets. Too bad the taxpayers didn't get to be at the party enjoying the good times and fat paychecks that preceded the bill. Instead they get stuck with paying for Daniel H. Mudd's (departing head of Fannie Mae) $9.3 million severance package while struggling to pay for groceries, heating bills and fuel. They get to cover Richard F. Syron's (departing chief executive of Freddie Mac) $14.1 million exit package while saving for their kids' college education, paying for their health care and shouldering the burden of charitable kindness to their less fortunate brethren. AND the taxpayers get to pay the salaries and expenses of the government takeover of these firms. But what's their benefit? And why didn't
they get to decide if that's where they wanted to invest their money--that's a standard stockholder option, isn't it?

In 1776 Thomas Paine penned these words on behalf of Americans in response to England, but he might well have expressed these very thoughts for American citizens today:

...
it will be found best to divide the whole into convenient parts, each part sending its proper number: and that the elected might never form to themselves an interest separate from the electors, prudence will point out the propriety of having elections often: because as the elected might by that means return and mix again with the general body of the electors in a few months, their fidelity to the public will be secured by the prudent reflection of not making a rod for themselves. And as this frequent interchange will establish a common interest with every part of the community, they will mutally and naturally support each other, and on this depends the strength of the government and the happiness of the governed.

O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose not only the tyranny but the tyrant, stand forth!*

* Read the full text of Common Sense here.

17 comments:

  1. So much more eloquent and intelligent than my plan to hid in the basement :) Well said!

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  2. Let me guess - you are upset. Am I right?

    The news is mind-boggling, but definitely not surprising. The chickens have come home to roost.

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  3. Testify!

    Pete used to work at Fannie Mae, so unfortunately, a decent part of our investments were in FNMA. Bummer...

    As for the economy, we personally save our money and live well within our means. It would be nice if everyone did the same.

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  4. Oh, man. I want YOU to run for president.

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  5. If I were going to write in a vote, it would be you;)

    And isn't all this Reagan's Trickle Down Economic theory at work?

    Does make you want to put all your money in your mattress, doesn't it?

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  6. Common sense, indeed.
    Very well said, Mama.

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  7. I sure that this wonderful and timely post gets as much national publicity as "lipstick on a pig!" It's much better!

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  8. 1979 - Chrysler bailout. Need I say more?

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  9. Are you running for Mayor anytime soon? Governor? Maybe VP?

    Greed IS the issue, big time. And at the other end of the spectrum, wanting everything for nothing and not contributing.
    How about some personal responsibility in adults--who should know better!

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  10. Way to go bringing in a major history player!!!! My history heart beams at you.

    I bet I use "These are the times...." every time my kids complain about a test. I might get it tattooed on my leg....not sure though.

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  11. Shame on the predatory lenders? Of course. But what of the irresponsible borrowers? We're paying for them too. It disgusts me.

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  12. There is no common sense at the upper levels of government or big business anymore. This past week has made me so tired and very sad for all of us taxpayers pay our bills and live within our means.

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Spill it, reader.