Average Joe’s Feelings on Bailing Out Wall Street

Some years ago COPols tried a guest blogger who encouraged regulars to enlighten him about political/policy issues.  I’d like to revive the idea in light of last week’s drama.

It is amazing what can change in a week.  When you are used to the plodding, steady steps forward (or backwards) a week like last week shows just how out of touch average Americans, like myself, are.  I try to stay up to date. I’m by no means a financial guru. I read DannytheRed’s excellent diaries and understood them, but couldn’t summarize them if you asked me to today. I’m a smart guy, work hard, save my money and am very conservative when it comes to investments.  I don’t have much financially, but if it hit the fan tomorrow, I’d be better off than the majority of Average Joes.

With that said, there are some thoughts I’d like to share (vent) about the current mess in which we find ourselves and please feel free to jump in.

First of all, I believe that there must be something done to shore up the American economy.  I don’t think the current plan being put forward is it.  It is too big, it is too broad and it is too quick (as in not thought out).  How do I know this – I don’t, I’m a average Joe.  My gut tells me that if we don’t do something we’re headed down a road Americans won’t want to take. My gut also tells me that the proposed solution isn’t going to change much systemically. Finally, my gut tells me that not one, not one greedy, liver lilied, cold hearted, suspender wearing corporate bigwig is going to be punished as a result of this mess.

What happened to the idea that the stock market was designed to invest in companies that produced something.  Derivatives, options, short selling, futures…what do these do for average Joes who want to use their money to help build a business.  Years ago I owned some IBM stock, a safe bet, you know why? They built stuff that people wanted to buy.  Good investment.

Now I read about banks packaging bad loans in with good loans to fool others.  I read about corporate fat boys who treat the business as their playground. I read about the government going into the insurance and mortgage business. I read about the current proposal’s billions of dollars of tax credits to buy support from House members.

I think I’m going to give up reading.

Then I hear on the radio that if we don’t pass this bill, I’m going to lose my IRA. I may not be able to use that $40,000 line of credit I’ve kept just in case something like this happened.  I hear that the Senate passed the bill easily with all these benefits to the big boys in the corporate world.  I don’t have $100K in my bank account, let alone $250K that would need to be insured.  I don’t own stocks. I don’t even own suspenders!

I think I’m giving up on radio too (I already gave up on TV).

Because of a bunch of greedy bastards, I’m worrying about my future.  Because of a bunch of spineless politicians who wouldn’t fix this problem when it was much smaller, I’m worried about my kids’ future.  Because we’re bailing out the greedy, spineless bastards, nothing will change.

So help me, an Average Joe, understand why the House shouldn’t again vote this bill down and demand that a real bill be crafted. Help me understand how a great country like ours became so indebted, so greedy and so myopic that the balance between fiscal conservatism and risk became so skewed.

I don’t need to hear it is Bush’s fault. This is bigger than the Presidency.  

Remember Wall Street’s Gordon Gekko, “Greed is good!”? How, o’ how did our country buy into that mantra?  Help me understand why we don’t reap what we sow in America anymore.

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