The first bailout brings socialism back

ReAnne Utemark

ReAnne Utemark

I cannot stop myself from looking at iPod touches. The iPhone I can live without – I can’t text very well on them. Every time I surf, it takes a long conversation to talk myself out of it. The conversation gets shorter now that nearly 70,000 people have been laid off or fired in what is likely to be the first of many rounds of firing. The economy is a scary place right now and perhaps now is not the best time to fulfill my iPod dreams.

In an effort to help combat this ever-worsening situation, President Barack Obama is pushing for a stimulus package, which is currently more than $800 billion, but with some additions from the Senate, could be closer to $900 billion.

$900 billion dollars is mind-boggling. Oh, and do not forget the $700 billion bailout plan spent to help prop up banks and other financial institutions at the end of last year – but that was mostly used for executives’ bonuses. The New York Times reported that $18.4 billion in bonuses were handed out. As it turns out, these executives on the ambiguous and villanized “Wall Street” wanted government money (taxes that would have been going to climate change or federal scholarship aid or anything except self-serving jackasses) so they could spend millions on redoing their offices and other obviously important things, like a $50 million corporate jet for Citigroup.

Let me say that I am not a communist or a socialist, or a European socialist, although Rush Limbaugh would probably disagree. I agree that if you are wealthy and have made money through legal, legitimate ways in the pseudo-capitalist society we live in, then good for you. If you make lots of money doing things that are legal, but on the edge of being ethical and then it blows up in your face, then asking the government bailing you out is both socialism and, frankly, a terrible thing to do. However, I know that so many people and businesses are dependent upon some financial institutions that the government had to help them or (supposedly) the entire economy was going to implode. Well, firstly, the economy got worse. Secondly, executives are still getting millions of dollars worth of salary, perks and various other things on the taxpayers’ dime.

The taxpayers do not have a dime to spare.

The media and the American people justifiably railed against the car companies for flying out in their private jets. Their crisis was partially their fault – lack of innovation and a constant churning out of gas-guzzling, road-hogging SUVs. Now it is time to take executives to task. I don’t disagree with the business itself, but I do disagree with banks offering $400,000 loans to people who obviously could never pay it off and then selling the debt to China. They never thought this would come back to bite them? Also, who is the socialist now? The people who want the government to pay for things that the government is supposed to pay for or the folks who want the government to pony up the funds for PRIVATE businesses?

That brings me to my third group of people that are at fault for this crisis and the subsequent spending of billions of dollars that NO ONE has: Americans. People who have eight credit cards in their wallet, who have more than one unaffordable mortgage and who took former President Bush seriously when he said that the way to support the wartime economy was to spend more.

This country is spending itself into oblivion and part of the problem is that we (Americans, businesses, etc.) need it. The other part of the problem is that we don’t have it.