Bailout needs some consequences

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

You could fill a library with all I DON'T know about politics and an equal amount with what I DON'T know about the foibles of the economy. Last week, I pondered all of the unanswered questions about the economy that have thrown us into a financial panic smack dab in the middle of a presidential campaign. And after listening and reading what seems endlessly about the crisis, I still am as dumb as a proverbial rock.

OK, so whoopee, we are on the verge of a bailout plan that will "rescue" the banking industry and begin to end the spiral of our financial downfall. I've listened to those learned elected leaders try to take credit and point blame. Enough already!

Here's what's missing - accountability and consequences. I want someone to pay for this mess other than the taxpayers. I want those greedy and corrupt scoundrels to hurt just like the rest of us when the tax bill finally arrives. I want to force those mismanagers of the financial system to forfeit a BMW or two and sacrifice a vacation home and their cushioned life and feel the pain that they have inflicted on our country.

I want the elected officials who presided over this mess to pay a price as well. Absent consequences, we'll never learn a lesson.

I'm sick of politicians of all parties telling me this is not a bailout but rather a workout for the financial industry. Baloney! This is big government digging deeper into my pocket and forcing me to make changes in my life because of their mistakes. I couldn't care less if the hatchet falls on Republicans or Democrats. Let it fall quickly and let the pain be sufficient to send a signal far and wide.

Lawmakers tell us the bailout is designed to restore consumer confidence. Well there's a better way. Tell consumers that the people responsible for getting us into this quagmire will pay a price. Tell consumers that it's hard to restore confidence until there is accountability and consequences.

If this disaster is a result of predatory lending, then use your head and go after the predators. If you continue to reward failure, then failure is what you'll get. Duh!

The greatest lesson learned this week is just how out of touch lawmakers are with the voters of this country. Like it or not, most of our lawmakers in Washington live in an isolated world unlike yours and mine. And naturally their decisions are made from their experiences. Trouble is, their experiences are far different from ours.

We'll weather this financial crisis but our trust in the elected leaders is eroded even more. When the dust settles on this massive bailout plan, I can only hope that voters remember the lessons learned.

This isn't about Wall Street vs. Main Street. It's about them vs. us. And "them" are winning right now.

Accountability and consequences. One of the lessons learned in kindergarten. But soon forgotten in Washington.

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