Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Survivor: Wall Street

The world has gone mad.

You and I—those of us who have played by the rules, who have worked hard, spent frugally, paid our mortgages and car payments on time, paid our taxes--are now the schmucks, apparently.

How can it be that the cheaters and beaters of the system are now being coddled and cradled by the rest of us through an unbelievable turn of events:

The Markets have tanked because no one in the financial sector trusts one another…and the captains of those institutions have threatened to crash our economic system if they’re not propped up by a bailout that continues to spiral out of control.

Banks who don’t even need the money are scrambling to line up at the door of the US Treasury… and you’ve got companies like American Express now morphing into a bank holding company so that they, too, can dip their snouts into the public trough.

AIG has snarffed up $150-billion of this $700-billion slush fund, and is still defending its on going practice of sending its executives to posh resorts for “training,” according to its CEO.

Now the automobile manufacturers want in on the action, after years of cranking out crap that they told us we wanted to buy, built by over-paid workers sucking on the corporate teat, backed by union goons threatening to shut down the car makers if they didn’t cave to demands for outrageous compensation packages.

Where does it end?

We just elected a socialist to occupy the White House for the next four years, a man sympathetic to Unions, and an encourager of labor organizers. President-elect Obama has already promised to bankrupt the coal industry, and according to some news reports, would have the airlines filing for court protection—again—if the Unions succeed in repealing pay and benefit cuts.

The Unions figure that with lower fuel prices, airlines are in a position to turn a profit for the first time in years, and they want their piece of the action. It’s a short-sighted move, with long term consequences, because low jet fuel prices are only a temporary phenomenon. Ironically, the bailouts were to be a temporary fix until companies--the banks--could find their footing again.

But just as Wall Street behaved with the intoxication of obscene profits during the mortgage bubble, now other companies are seeking to become drunk on the government dole. Like you must with any addict, perhaps it's time for everyone to go cold turkey, and let the chips fall where they may. At least the weakest would be shaken out, and perhaps our confidence could be genuinely restored in the remaining survivors.

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